LOS ANGELES & CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Professor Frederick Behm, Head of the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago Department of Pathology, and Dr. Bruce Gillis, CEO of EpicGenetics, announced they have identified a new application for the confirmatory blood test for diagnosing fibromyalgia (FM/a® Test) in an effort to potentially detect those individuals who may be the least at risk for severe and life-threatening cases of COVID-19. The FM/a test is based on findings that fibromyalgia (FM) patients have inherent immune system cytokine protein deficiencies, in particular, the IL-6 and IL-8 cytokines.
“Recently published research concerning COVID-19 shows that IL-6 and IL-8 may be at the root of the ‘cytokine storms’ which are experienced by the most severely ill COVID-19 patients and were the possible cause of death in these cases,” said Gillis. “These findings might mean that the twenty million people in the U.S. estimated to have fibromyalgia are less susceptible to the extreme consequences of a COVID-19 viral infection.”
EpicGenetics polled thousands of FM/a® Test confirmed fibromyalgia patients to investigate the potential role of IL-6 and IL-8 in COVID-19 infections to determine whether there were COVID-19 disease-limiting attributes in fibromyalgia patients, as well as regarding the severity of any COVID-19 infections in anyone with fibromyalgia (i.e., associated hospitalizations, a need for a ventilator and/or a COVID-19 affiliated death). Not one patient with such an FM/a® positive test reported experiencing any of those severe events.
EpicGenetics will offer a no-cost FDA-authorized immune system COVID-19 antibody test with every FM/a® test to better understand the body’s immune system response to COVID-19. This investigative effort is projected to provide insights into the occurrence and severity of COVID-19 infections in fibromyalgia patients and whether they are mitigated by their IL-6 and IL-8 immune system deficiencies. The COVID-19 antibody test will be performed by the Department of Pathology at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago.
“If a relationship is identified, we will be able to better understand how humans respond to the COVID-19 virus and potentially develop new therapeutic approaches and possibly new therapies,” Dr. Gillis and Dr. Behm concluded.
EpicGenetics, Inc. is a privately held biomedical company based in Los Angeles, California, that developed and manufactures the FM/a® Test. EpicGenetics is dedicated to improving the diagnosis and treatment of fibromyalgia by offering the first conclusive diagnostic test for fibromyalgia, and by investing in and developing further comprehensive clinical studies at leading medical research centers. More information is available at www.FMTest.com.
Links to Relevant Research
COVID-19: consider cytokine storm syndromes and immunosuppression by Puja Mehta, Daniel F. McAuley, Michael Brown, Emilie Sanchez, Rachel S. Tatersail, Jessica J. Manson et al, Published March 16, 2020
Unique immunologic patterns in fibromyalgia
Frederick G. Behm, Igor M Gavin, Oleksiy Karpendo, Valerie Lindgren, Sujata Gaitonde, Peter A Gashkoff and Bruce S. Gillis
Cytokine and chemokine profiles in fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus: a potentially useful tool in differential diagnosis
Daniel J. Wallace, Igo M. Gavid, Oleksly Karpenko, Farnaz Barkhordar, Bruce S. Gillis
Published in Rheumatology International (NO LINK ON PAGE)
International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents, March 29, 2020 The cytokine release syndrome (CRS) of severe COVID-19 and Interleukin-6 receptor (IL-6R) antagonist Tocilozumab may be the key to reduce the mortality by Chi Zhang, MD, Zhao Wu, PhD, Jia-Wen Li, MD, Hong Zhao, PhD and Gui-Qiang Wang, MD
Interleukin-6 in COVID-19: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis, Eric A. Coomes, M.D., Hourmazd Haghbayan, M.D., M.Sc, FRCPC
Can we use interleukin-6 (IL-6) blockade for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)-induced cytokine release syndrome (CRS) Bingwen Liu, Min Li, Zhiguang Zhou, Xuan Guan, Yufei Xiang
The pro- and anti-inflammatory properties of the cytokine interleukin-6
Jurgen Scheller, Athena Chalaris, Dirk Schmidt-arras, Stefan Rose-John