TULSA, Okla. — A lab conducting a COVID-19 study on patients with fibromyalgia says it’s finding people who suffer from the condition are far less likely to have severe complications from COVID-19.
Dr. Bruce Gillis is the CEO of California biomedical lab, EpicGenetics.
He created the first and only blood test to diagnose fibromyalgia eight years ago.
He began the COVID-19 study initially because he was concerned people with fibromyalgia would be more at risk.
But he says of the thousands of people in this study, not one person with fibromyalgia who has gotten COVID-19 has died, and very few have been hospitalized.
Dr. Gillis says he believes it’s because one of the deficiencies caused by fibromyalgia is actually protecting them from COVID complications.
Dr. Gillis says a normal immune system creates something called cytokines, but COVID patients are overproducing cytokines IL6 and IL8.
That’s what he says becomes the fluid in the lungs that causes pneumonia and other severe respiratory complications of COIVD-19.
Since people with fibromyalgia can’t overproduce those cytokines, he’s finding that they’re not suffering from those complications.
The significance of this is first, the potential for therapy.
Dr. Gillis says a drug that could prevent a normal immune system from overproducing the cytokines could potentially prevent the deadliest COVID-19 complications.
A drug for that specific purpose doesn’t exist yet.
He says the other reason the findings are significant is because first responders could be tested for fibromyalgia, and those with the condition could potentially be safer on the frontlines.
If you have or believe you have fibromyalgia and would like to participate in the study, EpicGenetics will include a free COVID-19 antibody test.
Participation typically includes allowing a technician to draw blood sample to be shipped to the lab.
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