Immunosuppressive treatment is a major cause for worry for patients with neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD, pwNMOSD) who may be at risk of contracting coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19). Furthermore, the outlook of Covid-19 in NMOSD is little understood. Comparing the NMOSD group to the general population, the research hopes to learn more about how demographic, clinical, and treatment factors influence the outcome of Covid-19 infection. At least 90 individuals in the NMOSD group were interviewed face-to-face, over text message, or over the phone and asked about their exposure to and possible infection with Covid-19. A total of 19 pwNMOSD tested positive for the Covid-19 infection. All patients with Covid-19 infection were interviewed over the phone using a semi-structured questionnaire comprising 34 questions to collect in-depth data on the progression of the infection. The medical records provided the basis for the clinical data used. A total of 16 pwNMOSD with confirmed Covid-19 infections and 3 with probable infections (not verified with real-time PCR) were found. Repeated infection with Covid-19 has been found in 3 pwNMOSD. Average (SD) ages were 43.5 (13.9), body mass index (BMIs) was 26.3 (5.3), illness duration was 6 (6.6), and Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) scores were 2.5 (2). Of the pwNMOSD, 17 were female (89.5%), and 12 were employed (63.2%). No one in the focus group had ever smoked before. There were 1.4 times as many Covid-19 instances in their NMOSD cohort (21.1% vs. 16.6%) compared to the overall population. The following were the Covid-19 infection course rates: 3 (15.8%) individuals suffered severe, 1 (5.3%) people reported pneumonia that required hospitalization, 16 (84.2%) people experienced mild, and no pwNMOSD died as a result of Covid-19 infection. Fever, coughing, weakness, and musculoskeletal discomfort were the most often reported signs of illness. Rituximab treatment was significantly different for pwNMOSD with and without Covid-19 infection. Based on the findings, pwNMOSD may be at a greater risk than the general population for developing Covid-19. On the other hand, most persons with pwNMOSD who get Covid-19 only have a moderate illness course. As it is, there is no need for persons with pwNMOSD to worry about a potential future pandemic, should one emerge.
Reference: ECTRIMS 2022