COVID-19 Severity in Pediatric Patients With MS on B-Cell-Depleting Therapies: Teri Schreiner, MD

The associate professor at the University of Colorado talked about a study involving pediatric patients with multiple sclerosis and related disorders, and the risk of COVID-19 infection among those on B-cell-depleting therapy. [WATCH TIME: 5 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 5 minutes

“I think this study should raise everybody's awareness that there may be an increased risk of severe disease among this population of patients infected with COVID-19. There are a couple important disclaimers to keep in mind, namely, that the variant circulating now is different and less severe, and that vaccinations were not reflected in our study.”

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the severity of the infection varied significantly among different populations of patients. Prior research has described in many ways the impact of COVID-19 infections in adults with multiple sclerosis (MS) and related disorders on immunotherapies.1 In a recently published study conducted by lead author Teri Schreiner, MD, and colleagues, B-cell-depleting treatment was associated with a higher risk of COVID-19 infection, higher rates of hospitalization, and ICU admission in pediatric patients with MS (POMS) and related disorders. Therefore, these findings suggest that these therapies, which are commonly used in the MS field, come with a higher risk of severe infection.2

In the study, 669 patients with POMS and related disorders were screened for COVID-19 between March 2020 and August 2021. If they were confirmed COVID-19 positive, further analysis was performed (n = 73). Notably, 8 of 9 hospitalized patients (89%), and all of the patients who were admitted to the ICU, received the B-cell-depleting therapy. Among those who tested positive for COVID-19 and were on B-cell-depleting therapy, the unadjusted odds ratio of hospitalization was 15.27 (P = .016).

Schreiner, associate professor at the University of Colorado, sat down with NeurologyLive® in an interview to discuss some of the main findings, as well as the related disorders besides POMS included in the study. She also talked about the discrepancies of those with severe COVID-19 while on B-cell-depleting therapies. In addition, Schreiner spoke about the factors to take into consideration when analyzing the risk of hospitalization among the patients on the therapy.

1. Sormani MP, Schiavetti I, Carmisciano L, et al. COVID-19 Severity in Multiple Sclerosis: Putting Data Into Context. Neurol Neuroimmunol Neuroinflamm. 2021;9(1):e1105. Published 2021 Nov 9. doi:10.1212/NXI.0000000000001105
2. Schreiner T, Wilson-Murphy M, Mendelt-Tillema J, et al. Characteristics of pediatric patients with multiple sclerosis and related disorders infected with SARS-CoV-2. Mult Scler. 2023;29(4-5):576-584. doi:10.1177/13524585231151948
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