The effect of Covid-19 on multiple sclerosis symptoms

The majority of people with multiple sclerosis (MS) who catch Covid-19 go on to experience worsening of current symptoms, or new symptoms, a new survey has found.

The UK MS Register Covid-19 study launched in March 2020 to assess the effect Covid-19 had on people with MS. Nearly 8,000 people have taken part so far, with 338 confirmed Covid-19 cases, and 757 self-reported ones. Out of these cases, 598 people answered follow-up questionnaires.

58% of people with MS saw their symptoms get worse, and/or developed new ones. 77% of respondents recovered and no longer had any symptoms. Recovery time ranged from six to 21 days, with the median being ten days. Some people had not yet recovered, and for some the symptoms had lasted as long as 196 days. Researchers said these findings were similar to what they would expect to see in the general population.

The survey also found that people with MS who are disabled physically, or who experience anxiety and depression, are less likely to fully recover from catching Covid-19.

Researchers also found that disease-modifying therapy did not seem to affect recovery, and people taking it were significantly less likely to get new MS symptoms after infection.


The findings were presented at the 2021 American Academy of Neurology annual meeting.