Myositis Research Could Aid in COVID-19 Vaccine Development

Myositis

Myositis is an autoimmune disease that leads to muscle damage. Patients live with chronic disability due to the symptoms of this rare condition. These include skin rashes, pain, weakness, fatigue, and more.

The condition presents in different forms such as inclusion body myositis, polymyositis, dermatomyositis, necrotizing myopathy, and others. The below study focused on dermatomyositis, which is specifically characterized by a skin rash. It can affect adults as well as children.

Comorbidities such as antisynthetase syndrome, cancer, interstitial lung disease, and other conditions are also common.

Unfortunately, there is yet to be a cure.

TMA

The Myositis Association or TMA is a nonprofit who works to help all those living with myositis and their families across the world.

They provide-

  • Patient education
  • Physician education
  • Advocacy
  • 7 million dollars in funding for research

The TMA has an Innovative Research Grant. The most recent recipients of this grant are Ian Hampson, Janine Lamb, and Spyridon Megremis. These researchers have used the money to make a new discovery in the field of myositis. But it is bigger than just this condition. It could aid in COVID-19 research.

These grant recipients all work for the University of Manchester.

The Study

Essentially, the team found coronavirus antibodies in dermatomyositis patients. Though this doesn’t prove that COVID-19 causes dermatomyositis, it could help us better understand both conditions.

This study examined just 20 patients and 20 controls. It needs to be conducted with a larger sample size and with similar diseases to inspire greater confidence regarding the findings.

The antibodies found were fighting both microbes such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses, as well as autoantibodies. The antibodies, which were found in higher numbers in patients than in the controls, were linked to exposure to different forms of coronavirus, like SARS-CoV-2.

Understanding what components of the SARS-CoV-2 sequence cause an immune response can help researchers uncover what vaccines may be effective for treating COVID-19.

This study was published in the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases.

You can read more about this study at The Myositis Association.


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