Last week, the PolyBio Research Foundation announced the launch of their Long Covid Research Initiative (LCRI), to search for drivers of this condition and ultimately find treatments to help the millions of people living with the disease. This new effort is supported by $15 million dollars in funding from Balvi, a scientific investment fund led by crypto mogul and Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin, and a commitment for further funding from the Chan Soon-Shiong Family Foundation, led by biotech billionaire Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong.
The focus of the initial research is on whether the virus that persists in the body after the initial infection causes Long Covid, and to identify measurable features of Long Covid that could be used in clinical trials. Dr. Amy Proal, a co-founder of PolyBio will be the LCRI’s chief scientific officer.
This is exciting news to our community, as a wonderful team of talented and dedicated researchers is now funded and in a position to make a significant impact. It also has implications to Solve M.E. and our work. PolyBio Research Foundation was founded in 2020 by Amy Proal, PhD, and independent researcher Michael VanElzakker, PhD, of the Division of Neurotherapeutics at Massachusetts General Brigham Hospital. Both have been awarded Ramsay Grants by Solve in 2019 (Ramsay Grant; Van Elzakker Ramsay Grant) and made ME/CFS a central part of their research.
As a microbiologist, Dr. Proal has been particularly active in making the connection between Long Covid and other post-infection diseases such as ME/CFS, and appeared in our recent video series, Long Haul Voices, currently streaming on The Disorder Channel.
This is a validation of the strategic direction Solve has taken to highlight the profound and broad effects of LC, including the economic impact on individuals and on the economy. Our advocacy and partnering with organizations such as Global Interdependence Center (GIC); The Public Sector Healthcare Roundtable; PolyBio and others, to educate and publish information are attracting private funders who may not be personally affected by ME/CFS or Long Covid, but understand the alarming social, medical, and economic impact on private and public sectors.
Congratulations to our friends and colleagues at PolyBio Research Foundation for making this giant step in connecting scientists, clinicians, and patients to advance the understanding of Long Covid and move urgently towards treatments! We believe that working together in that direction will benefit not only people affected by Long Covid, but the broader community of people with post-infection diseases, such as ME/CFS.