Vaccination significantly reduces the rate of hospitalization and death due to COVID-19 in patients with myasthenia gravis, according to a new study published in the journal Muscle and Nerve. This study adds to the existing evidence of the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccination in these patients and further supports their use.
There is little evidence about the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine in patients with myasthenia gravis.
Read more about the treatment of myasthenia gravis
In the present study, a team of researchers led by Nikolaos Grigoriadis MD, PhD, from the Second Department of Neurology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, School of Medicine in Thessaloniki, Greece, assessed whether COVID-19 vaccination had an effect on the rate of hospitalizations and deaths due to the infection among people with myasthenia gravis.
The team retrospectively extracted administrative data from the Greek nationwide database holding information about COVID-19 disease and vaccination between February 2020 and January 2022.
There were 278 patients with myasthenia gravis who tested positive for COVID-19 during this period of time in the database. Of these patients, half (n=139) were not vaccinated at the time of infection.
The researchers calculated that the probability of hospitalization increased with age and immunosuppressive treatment. On the contrary, it decreased with vaccination.
Similarly, the probability of death from COVID-19 increased with age and decreased with vaccination among people with myasthenia gravis.
The authors concluded that their study demonstrates the beneficial effects of COVID-19 vaccination in people with myasthenia gravis by significantly reducing the risk of hospitalization and death due to the infection.
Myasthenia gravis is an autoimmune disease affecting the neuromuscular system. It is characterized by the presence of autoantibodies that mistakenly attack the neuromuscular junction. The treatment of the disease includes immune suppression to control the production of autoantibodies.
Bakirtzis C, Boziki MK, Karakasi MV, et al. The impact of SARS-CoV-2 immunization on COVID-19 disease course in people with myasthenia gravis. Muscle Nerve. Published online February 22, 2023. doi:10.1002/mus.27805