MS Resilience to COVID-19

Initial Results*

​We report the first results of our project on COVID-19​:

  • To date, we’ve had 1,002 responses, which includes 560 persons with MS or NMO, and 442 adults without a neurological disease.

  • The average age of our participants is 46, and 80% are women.

  • Approximately 25% of all responders report at least one symptom of possible COVID-19, and 3% have had testing.

  • We do not observe any difference in symptom frequency among the two groups (Figure 1).

  • Diabetes is the only health condition associated with infectious symptoms (Figure 2).

  • Adults with MS or NMO are more likely to seek out advice related to COVID-19

  • 20% of persons with MS/NMO have already switched to telemedicine visits for routine neurological care.


We would like to caution that these numbers reflect early results. We do not know whether disease-modifying therapy influences COVID-19 infection. Our study also does not capture those who are the sickest from COVID-19. We expect to learn additional information from clinical registries through the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and Columbia University Multiple Sclerosis Center.

*Published May 14, 2020


Figure 1. The proportion of people with MS or NMO who have had COVID-19 symptoms is the same as the proportion of control individuals who have had symptoms. The blue bars present data from control individuals; the red bars present data from individuals with MS or NMO. To the left, we show the % of people with no symptoms, and to the right, we show the % of people with COVID-19 symptoms. There is no difference between individuals with MS or NMO and control individuals


Figure 2. Individuals with diabetes were more likely to have COVID-19 symptoms than those without diabetes. The blue bars present data from non-diabetic individuals; the red bars present data from diabetic individuals (whether or not they have MS?NMO). To the left, we show the % of people with no symptoms, and to the right, we show the % of people with COVID-19 symptoms. As has been reported ion the general population, having diabetes increases your risk of having COVID-19 symptoms, regardless of whether you have MS/NMO or not.


Figure 3. Location of participants in the MSReCOV Study.  The map illustrates the county level variation in case prevalence of COVID-19 per 100,000 across the United States as of May 1, 2020; the more intense red color denotes counties with a high level of COVID-19 cases. Persons with MS or NMO are shown as blue triangles and the control participants are depicted as green triangles. The size of the triangle indicates the number of participants per zip code. (A) Entire United States. (B) New York and New Jersey. (C) Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia.