Brigham and Women's hospital, Medical Xpress
Long COVID and myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome are debilitating conditions with similar symptoms.
Neither condition has diagnostic tests or treatments approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and each cost the United States billions of dollars each year in direct medical expenses and lost productivity.
Doctors and researchers have wondered what are the underlying biological abnormalities that may cause symptoms, and whether these abnormalities are similar in the two illnesses.
A review article authored by senior investigators at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, and the Mailman School of Public Health and Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University, addresses these questions.
ME/CFS and Long COVID share similar symptoms and biological abnormalities: road map to the literature: Anthony L Komaroff and W. Ian Lipkin, Frontiers in Medicine.
Research conclusion: The goal of this report is to provide a road map to the state of knowledge about the underlying biology of ME/CFS and Long COVID.
The often-similar findings suggest that insights into each disorder will have implications for the other. They may also enhance our understanding of evolutionarily preserved biological responses that fight infection and heal injury.
We urge that investigators studying the underlying biology of Long COVID take note of the robust findings in ME/CFS that have not yet been investigated in Long COVID: given the many similarities in the underlying biology of the two illnesses, it is likely that pursuing such abnormalities in Long COVID will prove instructive.
Research into the pathophysiology of these responses has the potential to lead to new strategies for reducing the morbidity of ME/CFS and Long COVID, and of similar illnesses that can follow a variety of infections and non-infectious traumatic injury.