XMRV Retrovirus: Round up 19: XMRV Blood Safety and Availability from HHS (US), PhD study

XMRV Retrovirus Whittemore Peterson Institute Science Mikovits Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

XMRV Retrovirus: Round up 19: XMRV Blood Safety and Availability from HHS (US), PhD study

WordPress Shortlink for this posting: http://wp.me/p5foE-2gR

Click here to download Lombardi Science paper

Or Open PDF here: Lombardi Science study

Supporting materials for Lombardi paper here: Supporting materials from Science

Perspectives article here: Science Express Perspective

For initial Whittemore Peterson Press Release, NIH (National Institutes of Health) News Release, Science paper go here: http://wp.me/p5foE-272

Click here for all previous XMRV Round ups and postings in reverse date order:



XMRV Blood Safety and Availability from HHS (US)

On the CFIDS Association site


Xenotropic Murine LeukemiaVirus-Related Virus (XMRV)
Blood Safety and Availability
Office of Public Health and Science
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
Jerry A. Holmberg, PhD, SBB
October 30, 2009
30 October 2009

The Office of Public Health and Science’s Blood Safety and Availability is aware of the recent literature suggesting linkage of chronic fatigue syndrome to a possible contagious rodent retrovirus, XMRV. XMRV has also been associated with an aggressive form of prostate cancer. Antibodies against the virus have been detected in 3.7% of healthy controls in a study of a small number of individuals. Currently there is no commercially available test for infection with XMRV. While there is no known association of CFS or prostate cancer with history of transfusion, the finding that the virus is associated with white blood cells has led some to question whether XMRV could be transmitted by transfusion and might therefore pose a threat to the health of blood recipients and potentially also transplant recipients.

The HHS Blood Safety Committee works with all the PHS agencies (i.e., CDC, FDA, HRSA, and NIH) to ensure the safety and availability of blood products as well as transplantation safety. Under the leadership of that committee, steps are being taken to investigate the blood safety threat from XMRV and the potentially protective role of white cell removal, which is performed on approximately 70% of blood. An interagency Emerging Infectious Diseases working group that reports to the Blood Safety Committee is currently assessing the literature on XMRV, conducting meetings with experts on this retrovirus, and interacting with groups that could study the question of blood safety. A report is expected within several weeks. In particular, the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute Retrovirus Epidemiology Donor Study-II (REDS-II) investigators are aware of the report in Science and are assessing the prevalence of XMRV in blood donors to determine whether studies aimed at evaluating transfusion-transmission rate are warranted using NHLBI’s repositories of donor and recipient blood samples.

HHS will remain vigilant in assessing the safety of the blood supply and developing interventions as appropriate.


Links to Other Federal Guidelines

National Cancer Institute Interim Guidelines on XMRV:

NIH Fact Sheet on Transfusion Safety (general): http://www.nih.gov/about/researchresultsforthepublic/Transfusion.pdf


PhD Project, University College London

PDF here


Dept/SchoolDivision of Infection & Immunity, University College London
Project Supervisor(s) Prof G Towers
Dr P Kellam

Funding Availability Competition Funded Project (European/UK Students Only)

Application Deadline 23 November 2009

A role for XMRV in human disease

Laboratory supervisor: Prof Greg Towers

Clinical supervisor: Prof Deenan Pillay

Xenotropic murine retrovirus (XMRV) has recently been associated with chronic fatigue syndrome as well as prostate carcinoma in humans (1-3). XMRV is a murine endogenous virus found in the genome of mice and until recently has been thought to be absent from the human population. It is now becoming clear that XMRV has transmitted to humans by a process of zoonosis, presumably from mice, and appears to be associated with a variety of diseases not previously associated with viral infection.

1. We will establish quantitative PCR assays and serology assays including enzyme linked immunosorbant assays (ELISA) to detect and quantify XMRV. Importantly, assays used to detect related murine leukaemia viruses in the lab are expected to be suitable.

2. We will use these assays to measure XMRV load in chronic fatigue patient samples as well as, well but XMRV infected control samples, with a view to establishing whether viral load relates to disease, episodes of illness and/or severity.

3. The receptor for XMRV has been identified. We will seek human polymorphism in the xenotropic receptor and assess which human cells express it. We will also establish which cells in vivo in blood express the receptor and which cells are infected with XMRV by quantitative PCR on sorted subsets of B and T cells from XMRV infected individuals.

This project proposes to address some of the most important questions surrounding the recently described XMRV infection of humans and to seek a therapeutic strategy for XMRV treatment. We expect it to be a competitive project and the experiments performed are likely to be influenced by ongoing studies published as we go. We expect that the candidate will be fully trained in modern techniques of molecular virology during the course of this project.

TO APPLY Send THREE COPIES of your CV (including full contact details of two academic referees) a personal statement and an indication of your top two preferences, on a separate page, from the list of projects below to:

Isabel Lubeiro, Division of Infection & Immunity, Windeyer Building, 46 Cleveland Street, London W1T 4JF.



From Dr Marc-Alexander Fluks via Co-Cure

Source: Irish Medical Times
Date: October 29, 2009
Author: Garrett FitzGerald
URL: http://www.imt.ie/opinion/2009/10/retrovirus_may_shed_light_on_m.html

Retrovirus may shed light on mystery of chronic fatigue

Back in the news big-time is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. A recent paper in Science reports infection with a gammaretrovirus (XMRV) in 67 per cent of cases. The virus has been detected from blood and saliva in long-term sufferers.

Is it time to apologise to all the patients who were diagnosed as being somewhat cracked? I recall one colleague referring to the condition as the Muirisheen Durkan syndrome: So, goodbye Muirisheen Durkan I’m sick and tired of workin’!

For some unknown reason, I was sent many patients with the syndrome from all over the country. I was almost always impressed by the genuine nature of the symptoms, having no doubt that there just had to be something other than psychological reasons underneath.

I could do nothing for them

I listened (often the consultation lasted more than an hour) and in most instances after investigation told the patients that they were probably suffering from CFS/ME. I told them I could do nothing for them in terms of cure or alleviation. The only contribution I made was to warn them about the quacks which they (understandably) were attending or about to attend.

One patient was attending a great man in London, who claimed he was a physician to the Queen (lucky ol’ Queen), who kept admitting the patient to private hospitals over there for infusions of vitamins and Lord knows what else.

There was no improvement, surprisingly, in a well-nourished, fruit- eating young female whose gums were not bleeding onto the tablecloth. He would tell her that she hadn’t had enough courses of the infusions just yet, to stick with them. The patient had sold her house and was in the process of selling her car to pay the fees for this Hippocratic artiste.

Money-mad mountebanks

My intervention did nothing for the symptoms, but the patient got to hold on to her car. Many fell into the clutches of money-mad mountebanks, chancers, crystal-ball gazers and three-card-trick merchants. Regrettably, most of these were practicing medical doctors.

Some patients who had previously been leading a fully active and productive life were reduced to being little better than bed-ridden. The Royal College of Psychiatrists classified the condition as (partly) a psychiatric illness about 20 years ago and recommended courses of psychotherapy.

In earlier papers, there was some response to the sessions, most patients saying that they were a little better.

Some of my patients were depressed. Their symptoms sometimes responded to SSRIs, but they were left with their original degree of fatigue unchanged. Some patients seemed to remit spontaneously after anything from two to 20 years after the onset of the condition.

Accepted the diagnoses

A rare patient improved substantially with psychiatrist-prescribed Prozac in doses exceeding 80mg/day. Most did not improve. In fairness, both the Departments of Health and Social Welfare accepted the diagnoses of ME/Post-viral Syndrome/CFS as grounds for awarding disability benefits.

Specialists in Internal Medicine generally recommended a program which included increasing amounts of physical exercise. My own experience was that almost none of the patients could walk more than the length of themselves without ‘paying’ for it – having to recover in bed for two or three days.

The ME patients’ support group lobbied well for their members, but were despondent about the future. Many patients felt ridiculed (by the attitude of some professionals) and concealed the diagnosis. Many had by then lost their livelihoods and their own self-respect and self-worth.

One swallow does not a summer make. Before deciding that the retrovirus is actually causative, we await the outcome of further studies. If these are confirmatory, we wait for the results of trials of anti-retroviral therapy. As always, the thinking doctor will be cautious.


From Dr John Greensmith via Co-Cure

Letter link:


(Scroll down long way, 18 of 20 letters to “Beware Study”)

Title: Beware Study, Letters, Bexhill-on-Sea Observer, 23 October 2009


Further to the recent article about a research study carried out in America that suggests a link between a retrovirus and ME (Does a virus cause ME?, Bexhill Observer, 14 October 2009), after consulting with our medical advisers people with the illness should be aware that, while very interesting and encouraging, these findings do need to be replicated in other laboratories.

This is not the first time that a retrovirus has been suggested to play a major part in ME, and before it was sadly found to be a false dawn.

We also need to be aware that, even if an association is confirmed we don’t yet know if it is a cause or a consequence  of ME. It would be premature to think about tests and treatments until we know very much more.

On the other hand, this finding will encourage more biomedical research that will increase our understanding of ME. The message from our advisers is that although this is a very interesting advance, we should not get too excited about it until we know more.

There is much that can be done to help those with ME, as a survey run by our charity recently in the area shows.

For more information call 01273 674828 or see www.measussex.org.uk 

Colin Barton
Sussex ME/CFS Society


CFSAC meeting Days One and Two

Videocasts of the entire proceedings will be available shortly from the NIH wesbite. I will post the links for these once these are online (RealPlayer required): http://videocast.nih.gov/PastEvents.asp

Dr David Bell’s presentation PowerPoint Slides can be viewed here:




Clips of Dr Dan Peterson’s presentation and Annette Whittemore: http://www.youtube.com/user/Khalyal

Also on this channel plus some patient testimonies: http://www.youtube.com/user/luminescentfeeling


Whittemore Peterson Website Q & A



CFIDS Association of America

Website: http://www.cfids.org/ 

On Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CFIDSAssn

Facebook Notes page (includes notes on CFSAC meeting):



Patient community websites, blogs and forums

Cort Johnson’s website: http://aboutmecfs.org/Conf/IACFSME09WPI.aspx

The IACFS/ME Conference II: the Hit of the Conference
The Whittemore-Peterson Neuro-Immune Institute

Reno, Nevada: March 12-16, 2009

Forums: http://forums.aboutmecfs.org/index.php


The Definition Petition

Petition webpage: http://CFSdefinitionpetition.notlong.com
i.e. http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/empirical_defn_and_CFS_research

If you haven’t already signed it – sign the CFS Definition Petition today at: http://CFSdefinitionpetition.notlong.com