Neurological immunotherapy in the era of COVID-19 – looking for consensus in the literature

“The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is concerning for patients with neuroimmunological diseases who are receiving immunotherapy. Uncertainty remains about whether immunotherapies increase the risk of infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) or increase the risk of severe disease and death upon infection. National and international societies have developed guidelines and statements, but consensus does not exist in several areas. In this Review, we attempt to clarify where consensus exists and where uncertainty remains to inform management approaches based on the first principles of neuroimmunology. We identified key questions that have been addressed in the literature and collated the recommendations to generate a consensus calculation in a Delphi-like approach to summarize the information. We summarize the international recommendations, discuss them in light of the first available data from patients with COVID-19 receiving immunotherapy and provide an overview of management approaches in the COVID-19 era. We stress the principles of medicine in general and neuroimmunology in particular because, although the risk of viral infection has become more relevant, most of the considerations apply to the general management of neurological immunotherapy. We also give special consideration to immunosuppressive treatment and cell-depleting therapies that might increase susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection but reduce the risk of severe COVID-19.”