The effect of air pollution on COVID-19 severity in a sample of patients with multiple sclerosis

MuSC-19 study group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background and purpose: Some studies have shown that air pollution, often assessed by thin particulate matter with diameter below 2.5 µg/m3 (PM2.5), may contribute to severe COVID-19 courses, as well as play a role in the onset and evolution of multiple sclerosis (MS). However, the impact of air pollution on COVID-19 has never been explored specifically amongst patients with MS (PwMS). This retrospective observational study aims to explore associations between PM2.5 and COVID-19 severity amongst PwMS. Methods: Data were retrieved from an Italian web-based platform (MuSC-19) which includes PwMS with COVID-19. PM2.5 2016–2018 average concentrations were provided by the Copernicus Atmospheric Monitoring Service. Italian patients inserted in the platform from 15 January 2020 to 9 April 2021 with a COVID-19 positive test were included. Ordered logistic regression models were used to study associations between PM2.5 and COVID-19 severity. Results: In all, 1087 patients, of whom 13% required hospitalization and 2% were admitted to an intensive care unit or died, were included. Based on the multivariate analysis, higher concentrations of PM2.5 increased the risk of worse COVID-19 course (odds ratio 1.90; p = 0.009). Conclusions: Even if several other factors explain the unfavourable course of COVID-19 in PwMS, the role of air pollutants must be considered and further investigated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)535-542
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Neurology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • air pollution
  • coronavirus
  • multiple sclerosis


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