COVID-19 in 7 Multiple Sclerosis Patients in Treatment With ANTI-CD20 Therapies

Mult Scler Relat Disord. 2020 Jun 15;44:102306. doi: 10.1016/j.msard.2020.102306. Online ahead of print.


Background and aim: In December 2019, the first cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection were detected in Wuhan. Within two months, it had begun to spread around the world in what became an unprecedented pandemic. Patients with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in a state of immunosuppression may be considered at risk for complications in the COVID-19 pandemic, although there is increasing evidence postulating a possible protective role of selective immunosuppression. One group of such immunosuppressants used in MS comprises the anti-CD20 monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) ocrelizumab and rituximab. Anti-CD20 mAbs bind to the surface of B cells, causing their depletion. We describe our experience in seven cases of patients with multiple sclerosis who have been affected by SARS-COV-2 (with a clinical/serological diagnosis or PCR diagnosis) and who were being treated with anti-CD20+ monoclonal antibodies.

Material and methods: We review the development of patients during infection as well as the resolution of their clinical picture. We also analyze the serology status against SARS-CoV-2 after resolution of the infection.

Results: Although the severity of the clinical pictures was variable, patients' development was good. Not all patients, however, developed antibodies against SARS-CoV-2.

Conclusions: Patients treated with anti-CD20+ have adequate resolution of COVID-19 despite the fact that the presence of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 was not detected in all cases. It is possible that the presence of humoral immunity is not always necessary fora good clinical course of SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Publication types

  • Case Reports