COVID Antibody Responses and MS Patients

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is currently a major medical topic worldwide. Due to the higher mortality rate among patients with chronic diseases, it has also caused concern in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), who in addition are often receiving immunosuppressive drugs. Multiple Sclerosis (MS) patients have a chronic inflammatory disease which is generally treated with immunosuppressive drugs.

COVID antibody responses reduced in some MS patients, But T-cell responses were similar, even in patients on ocrelizumab. Antibody responses after SARS-CoV-2 infection were reduced in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients on ocrelizumab (Ocrevus) compared with other MS patients, but T-cell responses were not, preliminary data from a New York study suggested.

Antibody detection varied but T-cell levels were similar for patients with COVID-19 and MS regardless of the disease-modifying treatment they used. The top-line result of their study is that MS patients on B-cell depleting therapy, ocrelizumab, have attenuated antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2 virus and are much less likely than MS patients not on ocrelizumab to produce neutralizing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2,” Kister said.

On the other hand, SARS CoV-2-specific T-cell responses were similar in ocrelizumab-treated and non-ocrelizumab-treated patients and clinically, these two groups had COVID of similar severity. These findings suggest that ocrelizumab-treated patients are able to fight off COVID-19 infection despite depressed antibody responses, presumably because other arms of the immune system — T-cells and innate immunity — provide adequate protection in the majority of cases.

It’s reassuring to see T-cell responses to SARS-CoV-2 in patients on a B-cell depleting monoclonal antibody treatment.

The University of Colorado and NYU Langone Health will start COVID-19 vaccine response studies in MS patients soon. They plan to conduct a longitudinal study of how ocrelizumab-treated patients generate T-cell and antibody immune responses to COVID-19 vaccine.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021


Mado H, Adamczyk-Sowa M. Multiple sclerosis patients and COVID-19. The Egyptian Journal of Neurology, Psychiatry and Neurosurgery. 2021 Dec;57(1):1-2.

Hubert M, Adamczyk-Sowa M. Multiple sclerosis patients and COVID-19. The Egyptian Journal of Neurology, Psychiatry, and Neurosurgery. 2021 Mar 1;57(1).


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