Like much of the rest of the world, the ME/CFS CRC at The Jackson Laboratory has been shut down since mid-March of this year because of COVID-19. Since that time, we have not been able to receive or process any ME/CFS patient samples. Some JAX employees have stayed on-site during the shutdown, but their work has focused entirely on COVID-19 testing and research.
The COVID-19 pandemic is likely to make a major impact on ME/CFS disease. Viral infections have long been suspected to be a trigger of immunological events that may lead to ME/CFS. There are now worrying reports of people with COVID-19 that have symptoms reminiscent of ME/CFS, months after viral clearance.
Talented Atlantic writer Ed Yong recently wrote an article in The Atlantic about “COVID-19 long-haulers,” or the people who have been experiencing months of cyclical, debilitating symptoms after being infected with the virus. Many of these long-haulers were previously young and healthy, but have experienced weeks of fever, delirium, and crushing fatigue following infection. Despite these extreme symptoms, because what they’re experiencing differs from the typical COVID-19 illness profile, they have been told that it’s all in their heads. Online support groups host thousands of people who have been dealing with severe COVID-19 symptoms for at least a month, if not longer.