ME/CFS Research Foundation Logo

The Role of Hidden Viral Infections in Peripheral Blood and Gut-Specific Lymphatic Tissue in the Pathogenesis of ME/CFS (UNRAVELING ME/CFS)


Principal investigator:
USA, Austria
Study start:
Not available
Completion (planned):
Not available
Last update:


Research types:
Epidemiological research
Research areas:
Hemic and lymphatic system disorders, Infections, General
Priv. Sector Partner:
Not available

Project description

In many patients, the acute onset of ME/CFS can be traced back to a viral infection. However, current scientific knowledge about the role of hidden or past viral infections in ME/CFS is insufficient to understand the disease's pathogenesis, identify objective diagnostic biomarkers, or develop targeted therapies. Particularly underrepresented in ME/CFS studies so far is the gut-specific lymphatic tissue of the small intestine, which is the largest lymphatic organ of the human body and a potential reservoir for pathogens. 

Therefore, the aim of the controlled cross-sectional study UNRAVELING ME/CFS is to better understand the role of hidden or past viral infections in the gut-specific lymphatic tissue in the pathogenesis of ME/CFS. 

The project, led by Dr Max Augustin and Prof Dr Alexander Zoufaly, involves collaboration with neurologist Dr Michael Stingl and the 4th Medical Department of the Klinik Favoriten (headed by Christoph Wenisch) as well as the Sigmund Freud Private University, to establish a biobank of professionally processed biomaterials (blood, intestinal mucosa biopsies) from ME/CFS patients and healthy control persons.

As part of this large international cooperation project, biomaterials and clinical data will be shared with Prof Iwijn de Vlaminck and Prof Maureen Hanson of Cornell University. There, the latest and most sophisticated high-end laboratory techniques, including spatial transcriptomics and deep RNA sequencing, allow a detailed examination of the role of past or hidden viral infections of the gut-specific lymphatic tissue in the pathogenesis of ME/CFS.

(Description adapted from project website: see link above)

Patient cohort

ME/CFS patients and healthy controls.

Patients enrolled: Not available

Age group: Not available

Research areas (6)
Research types (1)
Research networks (0)
Working groups (0)
People (3)
Publications (0)
Organisations (0)

Research areas

Hemic and lymphatic system disorders
General research area that is not attributed to a specific organ dysfunction or research entity.
Research projects: