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Letter from the Editor

Prof. Hans-Peter Hartung, Heinrich-Heine-University, Germany
MS Virtual 2020
Dear Reader,

Scientists, physicians, healthcare professionals were eagerly looking forward to the joint ACTRIMS/ECTRIMS meeting held every third year, scheduled to take place in Washington DC in September. The organisers met the challenges of putting together the first virtual ACTRIMS/ECTRIMS meeting with some 45,000 „digital attendants“.

The extensive teaching and scientific program covered all aspects of MS research, treatment, and care. New insights into the pathobiology, particularly of progressive MS, epidemiological aspects and lifestyle risk factors, MR and PET imaging, newer outcome measures, digital monitoring devices, data mining of trial extension studies, large scale registries, and experimental therapeutics were presented. The comprehensive trials of various Bruton’s tyrosine kinase inhibitors modulating B cell and microglial functions were discussed. Noteworthy was the positive outcome of the study using the tyrosine kinase inhibitor masitinib.

Eagerly awaited data from national and international registries including the MS Data Alliance on Covid-19 and MS were presented and showed concurrently a higher frequency and severity of Covid-19 infections in people with MS undergoing B cell depleting treatments. Conversely, interferon-β-treated patients contracted Covid-19 less frequently.

Research into cause, pathomechanisms, phenotypes, and treatments of related autoimmune CNS disorders (NMOSD, MOGAD) was also discussed.

Despite the ad hoc emerging challenges to completely transform a real into a virtual meeting, this joint conference was yet again a great success in the series of joint ACTRIMS/ECTRIMS conferences.

Hans-Peter Hartung



Prof. Hartung has been chair of the Department of Neurology at Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf since 2001. He was also appointed director of the Center for Neurology and Neuropsychiatry in 2012 and Medical Director of the Department of Conservative Medicine.

Prof. Hartung received his undergraduate training at the Universities of Düsseldorf, Glasgow, Oxford, and London. After graduating magna cum laude he served an immunology fellowship at the University of Mainz. His clinical and translational research interests are in the field of basic and clinical neuroimmunology and in particular multiple sclerosis and immune neuropathies.

He has been involved as member of the Steering Committee in numerous international multicentre therapeutic phase 2 and 3 trials in Multiple Sclerosis, Guillain-Barré Syndrome, and chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy.

He is former President of ECTRIMS and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology, Fellow and general assembly member of the EAN, has been chair/member of the management group of the EAN scientific panels on general neurology and multiple sclerosis, amongst others. He is/was also member of the Editorial Board of a number of international journals.

Conflict of Interest Statement:

Hans-Peter Hartung has received fees for consulting, speaking, and serving on steering committees from Bayer Healthcare, Biogen, GeNeuro, MedImmune, Merck, Novartis, Opexa, Receptos Celgene, Roche, Sanofi Genzyme, CSL Behring, Octapharma, Teva, TG Therapeutics, and Viela Bio, with approval by the Rector of Heinrich-Heine-University.

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