Griffith University’s research into the potential overlap between Long COVID and Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) has received a major boost thanks to a AUS$6.4 million (£3.5 million) grant from the Stafford Fox Medical Research Foundation.
ME Association Comment
This is welcome news. If only similar trials could be commissioned in the UK. We might then be able to quantify and understand the pathological overlaps between ME/CFS and Long Covid and whether repurposed drug treatments are useful to both. ME/CFS and Long Covid could affect more than 2 million people in the UK. Patients with ME/CFS have been waiting decades for safe and effective treatments and are keen to know if LDN is a good candidate. We provide financial support to the UK ME/CFS Biobank, and its lead researcher, Dr Luis Nacal, is currently working on a trial of LDN in Long Covid in Canada. Hopefully, the results from these and other clinical trials will provide good evidence to NICE and the MHRA to enable the prescribing of symptom-relieving medications.
Head of Communications. The ME Association.
The funding injection will be used by Griffith’s internationally renowned National Centre for Neuroimmunology and Emerging Diseases (NCNED) at the Menzies Health Institute Queensland. Chief Investigator Professor Sonya Marshall-Gradisnik said: “We are thrilled with this successful outcome as this grant provides the foundation to further our novel scientific discoveries of the pathology of ME/CFS as well as now explore the potential similarities with Long COVID.”
“The research funding also provides for a clinical trial using identified pharmacotherapeutic targets and the registered drug, low dose naltrexone (LDN), to be used in a clinical trial for both ME/CFS and Long COVID patients. The clinical trial will be conducted with participants from Queensland, New South Wales, and Victoria with recruitment of volunteers to commence in the coming months.”
ME/CFS affects around 240,000 Australians for whom no universally accepted biomarker, diagnostic test or therapeutic treatment exists. Sufferers of this debilitating disorder experience profound fatigue, muscle and joint pain, cerebral symptoms of impaired memory and concentration, impaired cardiovascular function, and immunological and sensory dysfunction such as noise intolerance and balance disturbance. COVID-19 has affected more than 600 million people worldwide.
Patients with Long COVID report similar symptoms to ME/CFS patients such as neurocognitive, immunological, gastrointestinal, and cardiovascular manifestations, which are also symptoms of ME/CFS. Professor Marshall-Gradisnik said ultimately, the clinical findings will hopefully demonstrate an improvement in the quality of life, in turn reducing the economic burden of ME/CFS and Long COVID on the health care system.
The Foundation continues to be impressed by the scientific discoveries by NCNED researchers that now enables a clinical trial to be undertaken in Australia to benefit ME/CFS and Long COVID patients.Stafford Fox Medical Research Foundation Trustee, Mr Ken Wallace