(Substack) Long Covid researcher Amy Proal’s odd history with fringe science

TLDR: Virtually the entirety of Amy Proal’s scientific output until COVID, from 2009-2019, was done in close collaboration with a man named Trevor Marshall. Marshall, an electrical engineer, is a strange figure who, operating largely outside mainstream science, believes he figured out, and can treat, a long list of chronic diseases including chronic Lyme, ME/CFS, Hashimoto’s, fibromyalgia, diabetes type II, psoriasis, lupus, and multiple sclerosis. Proal is convinced of Marshall’s fringe idea that vitamin D plays a central, harmful role in such chronic diseases and, additionally, is convinced of his belief that they can be treated by patients becoming vitamin D deficient.

My take on what actually happened

Amy Proal’s ideas have evolved over the years. She first collaborated with Marshall and pushed his ideas on Vitamin D, such as olmesartan (vitamin D receptor agonist) being a promising drug for ME/CFS. Marshall is currently talking about Radio Frequency Radiation causing disease. :roll_eyes:

The next phase is when she got interested in the viral persistence theory. If you check her original Youtube channel microminded / daniellesaratoga, she has videos on successive infection and other videos along the lines of multiple persistent infections being the problem. The PolyBio Research Foundation Youtube has an interview with John Chia, who talks about enteroviruses as a leading cause of ME/CFS.

At that time, Proal wasn’t making much money. She had a fundraiser asking for help with her living expenses. Then the Ethereum cryptocurrency guy, Vitalik Buterin, started funding Long COVID research. Long COVID Twitter at the time was mainly into the microclots theory and the persistence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus theory. Proal jumped aboard those bandwagons and managed to land millions in research fundng from Buterin’s various entities.

Microclots are the real problem

For the Vitamin D stuff, I’m not that concerned because we do need to theorycraft a lot of bad theories to come up with the correct theory. Failure is part of science. Not a lot of people have tried olmesartan or the Marshall protocol so it’s premature to label the vitamin D stuff as “fringe science”.

However, there is a lot of evidence that microclots are a scam.

  • Publication history: the authors first said that microclots were key to T2DM, then they moved onto acute COVID, and now they are saying that it’s key to Long COVID.
  • Many normal healthy people have microclots according to the data- particularly what Caroline Dalton is putting out.
  • Retracted data: The astonishing claims about 24/24 patients recovering were removed from a pre-print. The authors called for clinical trials anyways without mentioning any of their clinical data.
  • A ME/CFS patient likely died from HELP apheresis. That particular treatment really deserves scrutiny.

More info here:

A lot of research money is being wasted on a dubious scientific theory.

We also need to pay closer attention to all of the people who promoted microclots or #TeamClots on Twitter. If somebody is honest and bothered to read v1 and v2 of the triple anticoag pre-print, then I would argue that they would not promote microclots. Anybody with both honesty and competence would not do it. Unfortunately this is an indictment of what’s wrong with the Long COVID community- but sick people aren’t going to get better unless we face the truth.