ME/CFS and Long Covid Research: 19 – 25 April 2022

The weekly research round-up includes recent publications about ME/CFS and Long Covid. We highlight the studies that have particularly caught our interest and follow these with the full list of publications together with their abstracts (summaries).


The ME Association maintains a comprehensive index of published research on ME/CFS and Long Covid that is free to use and updated weekly.

Audio commentary from Dr Katrina Pears

ME/CFS Research Published 19 – 25 April 2022 

I’ve been doing this role for almost a year now, and this is the first time I have reported no new ME/CFS studies, however, there have been sixteen studies on Long Covid.  

None of the Long Covid studies particularly caught our eyes, with most studies focusing on describing symptoms and clinical features. We briefly highlight two of the studies below: 

Paper one (1) is on developing an exercise training programme for Long Covid. The study reviewed pervious published exercise protocols to build a new tailored approach. 

The studies focused on the use of exercise training due to the benefits seen for cardiac or lung disease patients as well as benefitting the immune system and inflammation. However, this does not take into account the strong clinical similarities with ME/CFS and the damaging effects of exercise. 

Dr Charles Shephard has provided a comment for this study: 

“It is very disturbing to see that this research group is advocating an ‘exercise training' programme for people with Long Covid but do not appear to have any knowledge or understanding of the very important clinical and pathological overlaps between ME/CFS and Long Covid, especially the need to avoid post-exertional malaise/symptom exacerbation when advising on activity and energy management.  

The dangers of over-simplistic exercise regimes have been known to people with ME/CFS (and to many health professionals) for many years and the new NICE guideline clearly states that they can no longer be recommended for people with ME/CFS. 

I hope that the same serious mistakes that have made with ME/CFS and GET programmes are not now going to be repeated for people with Long Covid.” 

Paper four (4) is on the use of vitamin D for long covid. The paper highlights the huge range of benefits in taking vitamin D and its fundamental role in immune system function. Current evidence shows that vitamin D can reduce the risk of covid-19, for example: inactivates the virus, anti-viral effects, promotes adaptive immunity, neuroprotection and reduces risk of cytokine storm (an aggressive inflammatory response due to too many cytokines being released at once, which is harmful).  

There is currently not enough evidence to show that vitamin D effects symptoms or biomarkers, but the authors conclude that it is an inexpensive and safe supplement to take as part of Long Covid treatment. Some research has also suggested that vitamin D could have a role to play in treatment of ME/CFS, however, evidence is still lacking. The ME Association has a leaflet on this, as well as more information here. (NB- Use of vitamin D supplementation should be under medical supervision. 

ME/CFS Research References and Abstracts  

No studies to report 

Long-COVID Research References   

  1. Exercise Training in Post-COVID-19 Patients: The Need for a Multifactorial Protocol for a Multifactorial Pathophysiology 
  1. Dissecting the Molecular Mechanisms Surrounding Post-COVID-19 Syndrome and Neurological Features 
  1. Post-COVID-19 Condition: Where Are We Now? 
  1. Vitamin D: A Role Also in Long COVID-19? 
  1. COVID-19 and One-Carbon Metabolism 
  1. Reduced Cell Surface Levels of C-C Chemokine Receptor 5 and Immunosuppression in Long Coronavirus Disease 2019 Syndrome 
  1. Clustering analysis reveals different profiles associating long-term post-COVID symptoms, COVID-19 symptoms at hospital admission and previous medical co-morbidities in previously hospitalized COVID-19 survivors 
  1. Neuropsychiatric Disorders in Pediatric Long COVID-19: A Case Series 
  1. Long-Covid Syndrome: A Multi-Organ Disorder 
  1. Long COVID Optimal Health Programme (LC-OHP) to enhance psychological and physical health: a feasibility randomised controlled trial protocol 
  1. Exploring Online Peer Support Groups for Adults Experiencing Long COVID in the United Kingdom: Qualitative Interview Study 
  1. Emotional and psychological impact of infection and postCOVID-19 in older people: beyond the usual symptoms of long COVID 
  1. Impact of Long COVID on health and quality of life 
  1. A systematic review and meta-analysis of Long COVID symptoms 
  1. Long COVID-19 Syndrome: Multiorgan Damage and Recommendations for Follow-Up and Rehabilitation 
  1. Clinical features, therapeutic outcomes and recovery period of long COVID 


Dr Katrina Pears,
Research Correspondent.
The ME Association.

Dr Katrina Pears - MEA Research Correspondent


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