Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) affects millions of people, yet its molecular mechanism remains largely unknown. Consequently, there are no approved drugs to alleviate its symptoms, leaving physicians uncertain of how to treat patients with this syndrome. Additionally, there are no definitive diagnostic tests, which often results in many individuals going undiagnosed or being dismissively misdiagnosed as simply having “low energy”.
The recent Covid pandemic led to the emergence of a new ailment known as Long Covid, which shares many characteristics with CFS. Similar to CFS, the molecular mechanism underlying Long Covid remains unclear, and there are limited therapeutic options and many misdiagnoses.
This story highlights research conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that was initiated following a clue provided by a citizen who suffers from CFS. Her observations of her own health, combined with her insightful interpretation of published scientific literature, guided researchers to a groundbreaking discovery that could lead to new treatments for both CFS and Long Covid.