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Black MS patients have poorer COVID-19 outcomes

MS Virtual 2020
In the North-American COViMS registry, Black MS patients have an increased risk for less favourable outcomes compared with White MS patients, even after adjusting for comorbidities at the time of COVID-19 [1].

COViMS is a North American clinician-based registry for MS patients with COVID-19. Cases are reported after 7 days and when the outcome of infection is reasonably certain. The main objectives of the registry are to see how MS patients as a group fare with COVID-19, and to evaluate how individual disease-modifying treatment (DMT) affects outcomes of COVID-19.

The 2 race groups that were considered for the analysis that was presented as a late-breaking abstract were non-Hispanic White and Black or African-American (AA) patients with MS and clinically isolated syndrome (CIS). A total of 858 MS patients were reported in COViMS, 503 (58.6%) were reported as non-Hispanic White and 223 (26.0%) as Black/AA. The latter group were more likely to be younger (P<0.001), be a never-smoker (P=0.014), and have a shorter MS duration (P<0.001). There were no significant differences in DMT use (P=0.06): 80% of White patients and 85% of Black/AA patients were on DMT treatment. A higher proportion of Black/AA patients had cerebrovascular disease (P=0.006), chronic lung disease (P=0.006), diabetes (P=0.005), hypertension (P=0.001), and morbid obesity (P=0.004).

Overall mortality was similar in both race groups: 6.3% in White patients versus 5.4% in Black/AA patients. A multivariable logistic regression analysis did not reveal an effect of race on mortality alone (P=0.30), after adjustment for covariates. Overall rates of mortality and/or intensive care admission was 12.8% in White patients and 16.9% in Black/AA patients. An independent association of race was identified with mortality and/or intensive care admission: risk for Black/AA MS patients was over 3 times higher (OR 3.7; 95% CI 1.6–8.2; P=0.002). The overall rate of mortality, intensive care admission, and/or hospitalisation was 30.2% in White patients and 35.8% in Black/AA patients (OR 1.7; 95% CI 1.02–2.84; P=0.04). One of the study's limitations may be a reporting bias towards severe cases.

  1. Salter A, et al. Comparison of COVID-19 outcomes between racial groups in the COViMS registry. MSVirtual 2020, Abstract SS02.02.


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