Breaking News: XMRV and ME

I first made a comment about the XMRV virus and it’s connection to CFS/FMS when it hit the news in October 2009. Then in January 2010, I ended up in the hospital (too tired, sharp knife, lots of blood, firemen, ambulance) and between stitches the doctor told me that the XMRV-CFS link had been debunked.

Not so fast. A few friends have written asking me about the latest news on XMRV so I thought I’d add a post on the subject. Major news outlets such as The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times reported two days ago that researchers from the FDA and NIH have confirmed the class of viruses in which XMRV belongs, in 86.5% of a sample of CFS/FMS patients. The key here is that the MLV-related viruses, as they’re called, were found in only 6.8% of healthy people.

Does this mean MLV-related viruses are the cause of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome / Fibromyalgia?

Any subset of a long list of physical and emotional factors can trigger CFS/FMS (also called ME). Once a patient does end up in this condition, the immune system is suppressed and the body becomes a lot more susceptible to different types of viral, fungal and bacterial bugs from which the rest of the healthy community is immune. You don’t necessarily come down with the infections but your energy level is compromised.

Do I need to be tested for XMRV or the MLV-related viruses?

I have been tested for total viral counts which were “off the charts” (my doctor’s technical term) in 2009. It took over a year but they were in the normal range last time we checked.

How does this new information affect my treatment?

The “I” portion of my treatment protocol basically involves boosting the immune system itself while at the same time taking care of any bugs it’s failed to keep under control. The plan of maintaining my normal viral counts while we take care of other details doesn’t change.

The anti-viral drugs and supplements I’ve been on are no fun so I hope my body keeps doing well enough for me to stay off of them. The drugs specific to MLV-related viruses look like they’re even worse. Yuck!

For further information, please see Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum’s refreshing, irreverent take on the matter.

Many thanks to Sandra, Mallary and Chuck for alerting me to the latest XMRV news.

4 thoughts on “Breaking News: XMRV and ME

  1. I saw an article on this in the paper the other day and, of course, thought of you. The two things that struck me were:

    1.) 86.5% is a lot, but it’s not 100%, and there are a fair number of people with the virus and no signs of CF… so there are clearly some other factors involved. Causality is always a curious phenomenon – does the virus cause CF, or does having CF somehow cause the levels of this virus to increase?
    2.) Anti-virals are, as you say, no fun at all. However, having lost plenty of friends in the 80s and early 90s to AIDS, and having watched a dear friend die slowly from Hepatitis C in the mid-90s, I can say that, in many cases, they are better than the alternative.

    This is clearly something to keep an eye on, but it seems unlikely to be the “silver bullet” for CF. Alas.

  2. Pingback: The Cause of Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia |

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