Barts-MS rose-tinted-odometer: ★★★★★
“Did you hear that Professor Giovannoni dropped dead after attempting to complete the virtual New York Marathon trying to raise money for a multiple sclerosis research project?”
“Prog G finally throws in the towel and arranges to see an orthopaedic surgeon about his failing right hip. His attempt to complete a marathon to raise money for MS research was one run too many.”
“Prof G’s kidneys finally pack-in after excessive use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatories in his futile attempt to complete a marathon and raise money for MS research.”
These are some of the comments I am getting back from my colleagues, who are concerned about my potentially foolish attempt to run a marathon. Please don’t be concerned about me I wouldn’t be taking on this challenge if I didn’t think I could complete it. As proof that I am getting close, I managed to complete a 20-mile run on Sunday; all I need to do is extend that by 6.2 miles in a few weeks time.
The reason for taking on this challenge is to raise money to complete a very time-sensitive research project that is very relevant for people with MS. We have developed an ultrasensitive GloBody assay to detect antibodies against coronavirus that can be run on blood spots that are collected at home and posted to our laboratory.
Our preliminary data indicates that our assay is more sensitive than the two commercial assays (Roche Diagnostics and Abbott laboratories) that are currently available via the NHS. The GloBody assay is detecting antibodies in people who are ‘antibody-negative’ on the commercial assays. This finding may be very important going forward and to help pwMS come to terms with their risk of getting COVID-19 and potentially help to detect antibody responses to any future coronavirus vaccine.
To borrow a metaphor we have an oven-ready study that needs to be done in the next month or two. We lost our funding when the charity that was funding this project realised they had a funding shortfall due to COVID-19. Prior to hearing this bad news, we had already been given the green-light by our research office and ethics committee to proceed with the study; this is why the study is oven-ready.
As our assay is now running and is closed to being validated would you be interested in getting yourself tested for a small amount? The result will then be sent to you and we would use the money collected from providing a service to pay for the service and to support the costs of the laboratory component of the MS seroprevalence study. Your thoughts, please?
If you haven’t done so already we would appreciate any microdonations so that we can start the study as soon as possible.