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

Medscape: Biomarker May Be a Diagnostic Test for ME / CFS

By Miriam Tucker

An investigational blood test appears to reliably distinguish individuals with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME / CFS) from healthy persons and may serve as a low-cost diagnostic for the illness, new data suggest.

Rahim Esfandyarpour, PhD, from the University of California, Irvine (who was formerly at Stanford University) and colleagues reported their findings on the nanoelectronics blood-based test today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

There is currently no well-established biological diagnostic test for ME / CFS, an often-debilitating disease that affects about 2 million people in the United States. The diagnosis is currently based on symptoms, and a majority of individuals with the condition are believed to be undiagnosed.

The new assay detects differences in impedance patterns in response to hyperosmotic stress between blood samples from ME / CFS patients and those from healthy persons. It “can potentially establish a diagnostic biomarker and a drug-screening platform for ME / CFS in conjunction with preexisting evaluation measures. This is a low-cost, rapid, miniaturized, minimally invasive, and highly sensitive assay,” the authors write.

They say that, given the assay’s significance and reliability, “we envision it has the potential to be widely employed in other research laboratories and clinics in the near future as an aid to physicians as well as to our colleagues in the ME / CFS research community.”

Assay Definitively Shows ME / CFS Has Biological Roots
Ronald W. Davis, PhD, professor of biochemistry and genetics at Stanford University and director of the Stanford Genome Technology Center, California, is the senior author of the study. Davis was a coinvestigator of the landmark 2001 human genome sequencing project. He shifted the focus of his research to ME / CFS because his adult son has been bedridden and completely disabled with the illness for the past several years, according to the Washington Post.

In the new study, the assay differentiated blood samples from 20 patients with moderate to severe ME / CFS (diagnosed using the 2003 Canadian Consensus Criteria) and 20 healthy control persons with 100% accuracy.

The authors note that they haven’t yet tested the assay in people with other medical conditions to determine whether it is uniquely identifying individuals with ME / CFS or those with a more general state of illness.

However, for now, that’s not as important as demonstrating a clear abnormality, given the skepticism among some in the medical community about the biological basis for the condition, Davis told Medscape Medical News in an interview during a recent 2-day National Institutes of Health (NIH) meeting where he had presented a preview of the data.

“It’s a potential diagnostic test…. Most of the time, patients hear, ‘There’s nothing wrong with you.’ Our major focus is to say that these patients have something wrong with them,” Davis continued. “At this point, whether this tests positive in other illnesses is irrelevant. The point is, they’re not healthy. Let’s figure out what’s wrong with them…. That’s number one. The second thing would be to look at lots of other patients and see what they show.”

Continue reading the full Medscape article here.

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