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ACTRIMS 2023 | SARS-CoV-2 infections may increase MS risk and risk of exacerbations

Scott Montgomery, PhD, Örebro University, Örebro, Sweden, discusses investigations considering if SARS-CoV-2 infections may increase the risk of multiple sclerosis (MS) exacerbations among those who already have MS. Hospital admissions and comorbidities before 2020 were considered to rule out susceptibility since the outcome was hospital admissions specifically for MS. Results showed no increased risk of exacerbations in people who tested positive for COVID-19 but did not go to the hospital. For those admitted to the hospital for COVID-19, there was a 106% increased risk of hospital admission for MS. Interestingly, the increased risk of exacerbations was almost exclusively amongst women. At this stage, it is difficult to conclude the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the MS risk, but if there is an increased risk, it will be a small proportion of the general population. This interview took place at the Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ACTRIMS) Forum 2023 in San Diego, CA.

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Scott Montgomery has received MS research grants and/or honoraria for advisory boards/lectures from Roche, Novartis, AstraZeneca, Merck, Teva and IQVIA.