Barry J. Byrne, MD, PhD: Adjusting Care for Neuromuscular Disease Amid COVID-19


The chief medical advisor for the Muscular Dystrophy Association discussed how his approach to the management and care of patients with neuromuscular disease has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Families are concerned about exposure—obviously, there’s a heightened level of concern in this patient community because many of the patients are also, generally, not leaving the home, so the caretakers that are…if they’re not properly practicing their social distancing, it leaves the individual in the home susceptible.”

The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has impacted all walks of life and certainly has made a mark on every area of medical care. Particularly, patients with compromised immune systems and breathing problems have been hovering atop the list of those who are most at-risk.

To find out what exactly the concerns for these patients are and how they’re being addressed by the physicians on the frontline, NeurologyLive connected virtually with Barry J. Byrne, MD, PhD, chief medical advisor, Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA), and associate chair of pediatrics and director, University of Florida Powell Center for Rare Disease Research and Therapy. Byrne, who has felt the impact of this pandemic in both the treatment and research sides of his role, detailed his concerns for patients with neuromuscular disease.

Additionally, Byrne mentioned the MDA’s resource center, which expands on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines for COVID-19 to offer the neuromuscular community specific information relevant to COVID-19. That resource can be accessed at the MDA COVID-19 webpage.

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