Monday, December 06, 2010

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome may be associated with a retrovirus, could be in blood supply, according to advocacy group

An organization named the (ME/CFS) Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Alliance ran a print advertisement on p A12 of The Washington Post on Dec. 6, maintaining that “chronic fatigue syndrome” is caused by a retrovirus and than 87% of CFS patients display markers for the virus in the blood. The virus is thought to be blood-borne and follow transmission patterns like HIV or maybe Hepatitis B.

The print ad claims that the novel virus is (XRMV or some similar virus) in the blood supply.

The website for the organization is here.

The Earth Times has a story about the printed commercial here.

The “culprit” seems to be a murine virus (carried in mice), possibly similar to feline leukemia. The New York Times had run a story  Aug. 23, 2010 by David Tuller on a paper .abstract from the National Academy of Sciences on murine retroviral sequences being found in people with CFS.

There is another article at Health Central here  pointing to a 2009 issue of Science.

There’s not much to say about transmission or epidemiology. It could be that, unlike HIV, this virus does not cause disease or symptoms in most people (which ironically means it is already well adapted to a human host, and probably a very old virus). Women seem to be much more affected.

There are bloodborn RNA viruses which are not, strictly speaking, retroviruses, that don’t have reverse transcriptase (like Hepatitis C) but have similar transmission as STDSs and blood contact.


Tina said...

Thank you for covering this unprecedented move, a first-ever ad concerning ME/CFS in a national newspaper. I am working with the MCWPA team. The ME/CFS Worldwide Patient Alliance (MCWPA) placed this ad to bring attention to a matter of public concern, a family of retroviruses in the human population, also found in the blood supply, that could be the cause of a disabling NeuroEndocrineImmune disorder. Although the science research is ongoing, the possibility is real, the implications huge.

Thank you again for writing about this important issue.


Joanne Drayson said...


…. 178 cases of breast cancer were examined for the presence of XMRV using the described methods.
Below is an extract from Dr Ila Singh application for patent.

Approximately 25% of breast cancers contained either XMRV proviral DNA sequences or XMRV proteins. The XMRV proteins were seen exclusively in the malignant breast epithelium (Figure 11).

kathryn said...

I want to thank you for covering this story, and hope you will follow up on it after the NIH blood working group meet the 14th and 15th;; they have a line-up that would give unprecedented coverage to this story.

There is a great need for patients to be seen in HIV clinics or their own XMRV clinics across the country immediately. The NIH can fund what they want to fund: this devastating illness should be a priority.

Anonymous said...

There is also the Science paper from October 2009 that started this entire story. That was a joint team from the Whittemore Peterson Institute, the National Cancer Institute and the Cleveland Clinic. They found XMRV in 67% of those tested. This retrovirus is also associated with prostate cancer. So it's not clear what the split is between men and women.