Potential COVID-19 infection in patients with severe multiple sclerosis treated with alemtuzumab.Mult Scler Relat Disord. 2020 Jun 11; 44:102297.MS
Management of disease-modifying therapies in Multiple Sclerosis (MS) during the COVID-19 pandemic is a controversial issue. Alemtuzumab is an immunosuppressive drug that induces lymphocytes depletion. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the frequency and severity of COVID-19 in a case series of patients treated with alemtuzumab in our center.
Ten patients with a diagnosis of relapsing-remitting MS were phoned and asked about symptoms suggestive and COVID-19 using a semi-structured questionnaire.
The mean age was 43.7 ± 9.65 years old, and 8 (80%) were females. The mean time since disease diagnosis was 17.30 ± 8.59 years, and all were patients with relapsing-remitting MS. Mean time from the last dose of Alemtuzumab was 9.80 ± 6.64 months, and last lymphocyte count was 760 ± 231 / μL. Two patients (20%) developed symptoms highly suggestive of COVID-19. Disease duration was 2 and 7 days. None patient required hospital admission. Patients with COVID-19 symptoms had longer clinical course of MS. Conversely, we did not find statistically significant differences regarding age, EDSS, last lymphocyte count, and months since the last dose of alemtuzumab administered between patients having or not symptoms of COVID-19.
Our data suggest that patients receiving alemtuzumab showed very mild symptoms of COVID-19. We speculate that immune reconstitution induced by treatment may induce positive changes in the immune system in the defense against SARS-CoV2. Further research about alemtuzumab and their role in COVID-infection is necessary to confirm these preliminary findings.