Driving research of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME / CFS),
Post Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome (PTLDS), Fibromyalgia and Long Covid

An update from Dr. Ron Davis

From the Desk of Ronald W. Davis, Ph.D.
Chair, OMF Scientific Advisory Board
Director, ME/CFS Stanford Collaborative Research

An update from Dr. Ron Davis:
Improving diagnostic tools for ME/CFS

#TripleGivingTuesday Research Update

As OMF comes closer to the end of its #TripleGivingTuesday campaign, I’m pleased to share this special Research Update for our supporters.

OMF has recently funded a project, under my direction, at University of California, Davis to improve a microfluidic diagnostic device to measure red blood cell deformability in people with ME/CFS.  This effort is led by Jiandi Wan and Sitong Zhou, in collaboration with myself and my colleague, Mohsen Nemat-Gorgan of the ME/CFS Collaborative Research Center at Stanford University.

Several prior studies have implicated a role of “oxidative” stress in ME/CFS. Red blood cells (RBCs) are potent scavengers of oxidative stress and their shape changes noticeably in response to oxidative stress; this has also been observed in certain inflammatory conditions including obesity and diabetes. The shape of RBCs determines how well these cells can move through blood vessels, so it seems pertinent to determine if RBCs in ME/CFS patients are affected. This has led to the development of a microfluidic device that mimics blood flow through microcapillaries.

We are developing a recording device using electrical flow to measure RBC movement and measure differences in cell velocity. It will be inexpensive and easy to operate in different clinical settings, and in a relatively short time.

who we are

The project undertaken by the team at UC Davis include:

Designing and fabricating new microfluidic devices with implanted microelectrodes inside the channel

Testing the device using RBCs from healthy controls and ME/CFS patients under hypoxia (low levels of oxygen)

Testing the behavior of RBCs suspended in their respective plasma, compared with a phosphate-buffered saline solution for sensitivity and reproducibility, and for possible effects on cell speed; and

Calibrating the device using RBCs from healthy controls with different age groups and gender, and thereby establishing the related “normal ranges”, which can subsequently be used for patient diagnosis.

*While OMF funds research projects at our six established Collaborative Research Centers, we are not typically involved in the research process and cannot introduce constituents to researchers. CRCs are not able to respond to inquiries from the general public. When OMF seeks participants in any data gathering research project, we will email those requests to our entire community. *

Please join me in supporting these groundbreaking research efforts into ME​/​CFS! There’s no better time to give. Your gift of any amount will be tripled from now through November 30, 2021, giving you the exciting opportunity to accelerate projects like these to find diagnostic tools, treatments and a cure for people with ME​/​CFS and related multisystem chronic, complex diseases worldwide.

Support these innovative projects by donating to OMF’s 2021 #TripleGivingTuesday campaign today!

And don’t forget, we’ve got many ways you can support OMF — like becoming a monthly donor! Think of it like a monthly subscription for research. Click below for more ways to make an impact:

Myalgic Encephalomyelitis / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME / CFS) Post Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome (PTLDS), Fibromyalgia Leading Research. Delivering Hope.Open Medicine Foundation®

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Myalgic Encephalomyelitis / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME / CFS) Post Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome (PTLDS), Fibromyalgia Leading Research. Delivering Hope.Open Medicine Foundation®

Averting a second pandemic:

Open Medicine Foundation leads groundbreaking international study of

Long COVID’s conversion to ME/CFS

AGOURA HILLS, CALIF.  — Open Medicine Foundation (OMF) is leading a large-scale international collaborative study investigating the potential conversion of Post-Acute Sequelae SARS-CoV-2 infection — more commonly known as Long COVID or Post-COVID Syndrome —  to Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS), a chronic, life-altering disease with no known cause, diagnostic test or FDA approved treatments available.

Up to 2.5 million people in the U.S. alone suffer from ME/CFS; the COVID-19 pandemic could at least double that number. An estimated 35 percent of Americans who had COVID-19 have failed to fully recover several months after infection, prompting many to call it “a potential second pandemic.”

OMF recognized a familiar health crisis emerging, one with eerie similarities to ME/CFS. This crisis presented a unique opportunity to understand how a viral infection — in this case COVID-19 — may develop into ME/CFS in some patients. The goal is to find targeted treatments for ME/CFS patients and ultimately prevent its onset in people infected with SARS-CoV-2 or other infections.

The federal government is only now investing in Post-COVID research, with no focus on its connection to ME/CFS. OMF has already engaged researchers for the largest-scale study of its kind, solely supported by private donors who have contributed over one million dollars to date. When fully funded, the five million dollar, three-year study will be conducted across the globe at OMF funded Collaborative Research Centers, led by some of the world’s top researchers and ME/CFS experts.


In a significant percentage of patients, infections preceded their development of ME/CFS.  For example, according to the CDC about one in ten infected with Epstein-Barr virus, Ross River virus, or Coxiella burnetti develop symptoms that meet the criteria for ME/CFS.


The ability to follow the development of ME/CFS from a known viral infection is unprecedented to date and crucial to researchers’ understanding of the disease. The focus of this study is to find the biological differences between persons returning to good health after COVID-19 and persons who remained ill more than six months after infection and developed ME/CFS.  Understanding these alterations in key pathways can lead to groundbreaking discoveries including new biomarkers, drug targets, and prevention and treatment strategies.


About Open Medicine Foundation

Established in 2012, Open Medicine Foundation leads the largest, concerted worldwide nonprofit effort to diagnose, treat, and prevent ME/CFS and related chronic, complex diseases such as Post Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, and Post COVID. OMF adds urgency to the search for answers by driving transformational philanthropy into global research. We have raised over $28 Million from private donors and facilitated and funded the establishment of six prestigious ME/CFS Collaborative Research Centers around the world. To learn more, visit www.omf.ngo.


Heather Ah San

Development and Communications Manager