Two months ago we floated the concept of doing a UK-wide seroprevalence study in UK residents with MS to see how many had seroconverted to become anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody positive and to see if there are differences in seroconversion rates between people on different DMTs.
The motivation was based on a prediction that people with MS on ocrelizumab would have lower titres of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody titres, be more likely to be seronegative despite a history of COVID-19 and less likely to have neutralizing anti-spike protein RBD (receptor binding domain) antibodies compared to patients on other DMTs.
It looks like we may be correct; some early case reports suggest pwMS on ocrelizumab may not seroconvert.
In addition to the cross-sectional analysis, we proposed following the seronegative pwMS over time to study how the COVID-19 pandemic evolves and monitor the development of herd immunity.
We have designed the study and in parallel, to applying for funding we got the study approved by our University and Ethics committee. We thought we had the funding approved, but at the last minute due to a funding crisis, our funder said no. We are now sitting with a dilemma; an approved study with no funding. So we are having to revert to plan B; crowdfunding.
When we did our survey you all agreed that crowdfunding would be one potential solution to our funding crisis. However, we can’t simply ask you to donate money. We have to put our money where our mouths are. So I have decided to come out of marathon running retirement to raise money for this study that will be managed by Dr Ruth Dobson and Dr Angray Kang.
I have signed up for the virtual New York City Marathon in the medal-winning category. My aim is to complete a 26.2-mile run in London between October 17 and November 1. I will be joining runners from around the globe to make this the world’s largest virtual marathon. The question is does my right hip have enough cartilage left in it for me to complete the run?
In addition, to me attempting to complete a marathon with a failing hip I am gently prodding other members of Bart-MS to do something as well. I may have one taker already, but more on this later.
Our objective is to raise £25,000 to cover the costs of posting out blood spots to study participants. As this study is time sensitive we need to raise the money ASAP.
If you want to help us raise the funds please do not hesitate to contact us.