As SARS-CoV-2 virus vaccinations come into circulation, questions have arisen surrounding their safety and efficacy in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). Amit Bar-Or, MD, FRCPC, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, discusses the latest evidence regarding COVID-19 vaccines in MS populations. Dr Bar-Or reiterates that COVID-19 does not appear to differentially affect people with MS and that evidence so far does not indicate that vaccines come with any increased risk of complications in MS. More definitive data is accumulating. Another consideration has been the impact of disease modifying therapies (DMTs) on vaccination and responses. Dr Bar-Or comments on this, sharing that DMT adds no additional risk to COVID-19 vaccination, but depending on the specific treatment, there may be effects on vaccine efficacy. This interview took place during the ACTRIMS Forum 2021.
Dr. Bar-Or has participated as a speaker in meetings sponsored by and received consulting fees and/or grant support from: Accure, Atara Biotherapeutics, Biogen, BMS/Celgene/Receptos, GlaxoSmithKline, Gossamer, Janssen/Actelion, Medimmune, Merck/EMD Serono, Novartis, Roche/Genentech, Sanofi-Genzyme.
Dr. Bar-Or receives research funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), The National MS Society (NMSS), the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, Multiple Sclerosis Scientific Foundation and Melissa and Paul Anderson Chair in Neuroinflammation.
Dr. Bar-Or serves on the: Board of Directors for Americas Committee in Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ACTRIMS); Education Committee for the Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies (FOCIS); Steering Committee of the Immune Tolerance Network (ITN); President, International Society for Neuroimmunology (ISNI).