Our findings could give predictive evidence of long-term neurocognitive outcome in HSE, and suggest a causative chain of events where brain tissue damage increases the risk of subsequent prolongation of CSF inflammation and post-viral fatigue. The data could provide guidance for a future intervention study of immunosuppressive therapy administered in the recovery phase of HSE and other viral infections with neurological sequelae.
STUDY HYPOTHESIS AND DESCRIPTION
The further understanding of the post-viral fatigue phenomenon that many HSE patients present with could give new insights in the initial episode of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME / CFS) since very many of the patients (70-80%) reports on an initial infection (eg mononucleosis) in the onset of the disease.
A total of 50 adult/adolescent HSE patients were included in a prospective cohort. Study subjects underwent repeated plasma/CSF sampling (Day 0, 14 and 90) and brain MRI the first 3 months along with cognitive assessment by Mattis Dementia Rating Scale (MDRS) during 24 months. Initially, CSF samples will be analyzed for biomarkers of brain injury, inflammation and synaptic damage using proteomics (both MS-based screening and targeted Olink based panel). This could be complemented with a metabolic profiling of the plasma concentration of around 550 targeted analytes in plasma. The pre-defined primary analysis will be the correlation of CSF biomarkers and MDRS followed by evaluation of post-viral fatigue and ME.
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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