Up to an estimated 20% of people who survive COVID-19 will have persistent symptoms with no obvious organ damage. This is also known as post-COVID-19 syndrome, or Long COVID. The symptoms of Long COVID overlap with those of other post-infectious conditions like ME/CFS. 

A post-infectious illness consistent with ME/CFS has been described in the scientific literature for over 200 years. Post-infectious illness can be triggered by many different pathogens, such as Epstein-Barr virus, Ross River virus, Human Herpes Virus 6 (HHV6) and even Ebola virus. That so many different pathogens can trigger post-infectious illness suggests an abnormal immune response is involved in these conditions.  

Researchers have found abnormalities in a range of different body systems in people with ME/CFS, including the immune system, central and autonomic nervous systems, gastrointestinal system and cellular energy production. Like ME/CFS, COVID-19 affects many different body systems. While it is not yet clear if the same abnormalities found in people with ME/CFS will also be found in people with Long COVID, it is likely the two conditions will have similar underlying biology. Some common abnormalities have already been identified.  

COVID-19 is predicted to result in a significant increase in the number of people with post-infectious illnesses like ME/CFS and Long COVID. The US has invested $1.15bn in research into these conditions. This research is critical to better understand the underlying biology of both conditions, and to develop diagnostic tests and effective treatments. 

Read the full article here:

Komaroff and Lipkin, “Insights from myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome may help unravel the pathogenesis of postacute COVID-19 syndrome”, Trends in Molecular Medicine, Vol 27, No. 9, 2021 

Emerge Australia is a national organisation providing education, advocacy, research and support services for Australians living with ME/CFS. With the medical and media spotlight currently on Long COVID it is finally bringing ME/CFS out of the shadows and highlighting how proper funding and new research is decades overdue.

Emerge Australia is determined to seize this moment to help transform the lives of the estimated 250,000 Australians living with ME/CFS and other post-viral fatigue conditions. Please support our campaign, by sharing it amongst your networks to keep the conversation flowing. And if you possibly can, please make a donation to help people with a disease strikingly similar to Long COVID, expect hardly anyone heard of it. You can keep up to date with the campaign and Emerge Australia's work by subscribing to our monthly newsletter