This is the first prospective study on the possible adverse effects of the mRNA vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 in patients with Multiple Sclerosis, and shows that, not only is it effective and safe for these patients, but that it does not cause neurological complications of the disease.
Infection with SARS-CoV-2 leads to the production of many antibodies, some of which can attack the body itself. It is not known whether vaccination has the same effect, exacerbating autoimmune diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis, and has this raised some doubts regarding the administration of the vaccine to this group.
The study, published in the journal Neurology Neuroimmunology and Neuroinflamation, was led by Albert Saiz, emeritus consultant at the Hospital Clínic and researcher in the IDIBAPS Pathogenesis of autoimmune neuronal disorders research group, and Yolanda Blanco, head of the Hospital Clínic Neuroimmunology-Multiple Sclerosis Unit unit and researcher in the IDIBAPS Advanced imaging in neuroimmunological diseases research group. The study followed 454 patients with Multiple Sclerosis to assess the effectiveness of the vaccine and rule out any possible adverse effects. The patients were monitored at the Hospital Clínic Barcelona, the Hospital de Sant Pau and the Hospital Sant Joan de Déu.
“This study has allowed us to send a message of reassurance and confidence to our patients, which will facilitate the acceptance of new vaccination campaigns”, assure the authors.
Blood tests carried out after each dose of the vaccine show that the latter produces a good level of immunogenicity against SARS-CoV-2 in patients with Multiple Sclerosis, demonstrating its effectiveness. Moreover, the vaccinated participants showed no serious complications of COVID-19.
The blood samples also showed that the vaccine did not trigger the appearance of new antibodies that could exacerbate Multiple Sclerosis or that could be related to the appearance of other autoimmune diseases, ruling out any possible undesirable effects. Similarly, none of the participants reported an increase in the activity of the disease after vaccination.
This study received funding from La Marató de TV3 telethon in 2020, which was dedicated to COVID-19.
Yolanda Blanco et al. mRNA COVID-19 Vaccination Does Not Exacerbate Symptoms or Trigger Neural Antibody Responses in Multiple Sclerosis. Neurology Neuroimmunology and Neuroinflamation. November 2023; 10 (6). DOI: 10.1212/NXI.0000000000200163