Increased home access to care and treatment options for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) proved beneficial during the 2019 coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, explained Mary Schroth, MD, FAAP, FCCP, chief medical officer at Cure SMA.
The latest FDA approved treatment is Evrysdi, which is an oral home therapy. What are the benefits of having this adjunct therapy available?
FDA approval of the Evrydi (risdiplam) plan provides another treatment option for people living with SMA. The ability to take a drug at home and by mouth or tube will allow more people to access SMA treatment. With more treatments available to us, patients should work in consultation with their team of healthcare professionals to determine which treatment option is best for their specific needs.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected people with SMA and their caregivers? For example, are they more at risk of getting infected? Do we know what impact the virus has if it gets COVID-19?
Based on feedback from our community about COVID-19, we have learned that COVID-19 temporarily interfered with patients’ ability to receive treatments as planned. Monitory care has shifted to greater telemedicine delivery and in-person care when needed. Similarly, clinical trial visits were modified to conduct in-person visits when essential and other visits were modified to be conducted virtually.
We have limited reports of people living with us who may actually have COVID-19. In general, people living with SMA avoid others who are sick. And during the viral winter season, they were already avoiding public contact as much as possible. There is not enough information available to draw conclusions about the impact of the infection on those with SMA. We interviewed our SMA community and learned that less than 5% actually had a COVID-19 infection or COVID-19 symptoms.