Transverse myelitis and vaccine development for prevention of SARS-CoV-2 infection (COVID-19)

We at the Siegel Rare Neuroimmune Association (SRNA) have been made aware of a volunteer participating in an AstraZeneca SARS-CoV-2 vaccine trial being potentially diagnosed with myelitis. At this time, we do not have official confirmation of the diagnosis of transverse myelitis, and it is unclear if the event was related to the vaccine or not, but it’s of obvious importance to our rare neuroimmune disorder community.

Neurological complications associated with the development of vaccines have been described in the past. It has occurred in the development of vaccines for other viral infections such as rabies, Japanese encephalitis, yellow fever, and H1N1. Vaccine development requires a rigorous and comprehensive assessment of the vaccine candidates, safety, risk, and benefits. The reason clinical trials are pursued in a rigorous fashion is to prove the safety, efficacy and relative risks of an intervention. The information being released about the current study is reassuring that safety oversight protocols are working, and clinician-scientists are monitoring events as they occur to ensure vaccine development is beneficial and safe for public health. What is needed now in the development of a vaccine for prevention of SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 is to evaluate the magnitude of the risk and identify strategies to minimize such risk.

Current Phase 3 clinical trials are evaluating and assessing to determine which vaccines and strategies would be the safest and most effective to immunize against SARS-Cov2 infection. We will continue to monitor the outcomes, data, and safety records of the various vaccines being developed and update you as we learn more.

For more information about transverse myelitis, please click here.

For more information about COVID-19 and rare neuroimmune disorders like transverse myelitis, please click here.

This statement has been approved by Dr. Benjamin Greenberg, Dr. Carlos A. Pardo, and Dr. Michael Levy, members of the SRNA Board of Directors and SRNA Medical and Scientific Council.

For any questions or more information, please email info@wearesrna.org.