Researchers' study on MS patients suggests that interferon decreases the risk of COVID-19 among MS patients.

Iran Press/Europe: Italian researchers from the University of Genoa, University Hospital San Luigi, University of Bari and numerous others presented a study on the use of interferon in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients. They found that using interferon might reduce the risk of severe COVID-19 in these patients, while anti-CD20 therapies may increase the risk.

The data was collected from March 2020 in MS patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19. They increased routine serologic testing, and also collected data on asymptomatic patients with MS and COVID-19. It involved 902 patients with MS, including 298 with confirmed COVID-19 and 604 with suspected COVID-19. About 4% were asymptomatic.

Eight of 95 patients who received anti-CD20 therapies either ended up in intensive care or died. About 5% of patients with MS who received treatments other than anti-CD20 and interferon were also either admitted to the ICU or died. Of the 37 asymptomatic patients, seven received interferon, one with anti-CD20, and 29 with other drugs.

Treatment with interferon was linked to decreased risk of severe COVID-19 compared to treatment with dimethyl fumarate, while treatment with anti-CD20 therapies including ocrelizumab or rituximab were linked with an increased risk of severe COVID-19.

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