Solve-funded research indicates potential biomarker, treatments for ME/CFS and Long Covid

Solve Ramsay Research Grant winners (Class of 2019) and UMass Chan Medical School viral immunologists Liisa Selin, MD, PhD, and Anna Gil, PhD, recently published promising results from a Solve-funded study in Brain, Behavior & Immunity Health. The paper reported two key findings that bear the potential to advance diagnostics and treatments for ME/CFS and Long Covid. 

First, the authors observed evidence that CD8 T-cell dysfunction can be a useful biomarker for both diagnosis and health outcome tracking for future treatments or clinical trials. 

Second, the authors noticed in a small series of clinical case studies that an experimental drug, Inspiritol, which is a treatment that boosts and adjusts the immune system, and fights off pathogens (like bacteria and viruses), appeared to improve patients’ health and immune deficiency. Further research with larger subject cohorts will be required to validate the predictive power of CD8 T-Cell dysfunction as a biomarker and the effectiveness of Inspiritol as a potential intervention for ME/CFS and Long COVID patients.

Drs. Selin and Gil are two of many Solve researchers who, after their initial pilot studies, have successfully secured substantial follow-on funding to continue significant advancements in the field. 

In 2021, Selin and Gil were awarded a $2.5 million R01 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to build upon work on their Solve-funded study, and in 2022 they were one of six Solve Ramsay Grant research teams to receive nearly $5 million in biomedical research awards for Long Covid and associated conditions–including ME/CFS. 

Another researcher who received early support from Solve, Dr. Jonas Bergquist (Ramsay Class of 2018), recently published findings from research funded by Open Medicine Foundation (OMF). In “Analysis of tryptophan metabolites and related compounds in human and murine tissue: development and validation of a quantitative and semi-quantitative method using high resolution mass spectrometry,” Berquist and his co-authors investigated the levels of tryptophan metabolites in plasma samples using high-resolution mass spectrometry. By incorporating this methodology into a new study of plasma samples from people with ME/CFS, they hope to uncover potential mechanisms involved in disease development.

Solve is proud of its role in launching and sustaining the careers of many renowned ME/CFS and Long Covid researchers, and we’re pleased to share the news of their ongoing research advancements.

Drs. Selin, Gil, and Bergquist’s success in securing funding to continue the research they started with Solve as well as their new publications, illustrate how Solve’s Ramsay Grant program continues to fulfill its main objectives well past Solve’s seed funding. These objectives are:

  • Provide seed funding for innovative projects that will generate data to facilitate applications for larger grants.
  • Attract researchers to the field of ME/CFS and Long Covid and ensure they stay engaged.
  • Add to the cumulative scientific knowledge that informs ME/CFS and Long Covid diagnosis and treatment.


Stay tuned for more updates on Solve-funded research!

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