There is tremendous interest in the XMRV retrovirus and its possible relationship to CFS and other conditions. Although this line of research is rather new and much more needs to be done, it is becoming clearer that the XMRV virus can be found in non-symptomatic subjects as well as symptomatic patients, similar to HIV-1 retrovirus and AIDS. Thus the XMRV virus may be important but not necessarily sufficient to cause morbidity.
In the case of other retroviruses additional co-infections are required to produce morbidity, and this may also be the case with XMRV. Thus we should not over-focus on this infection and forget the co-infections that actually cause signs/symptoms of disease.
Time will tell if treating the XMRV retrovirus has any positive effect or not. My sense is that once the process is initiated, such as immune disregulation, then the virus may not be necessary or sufficient to keep the process going. That is where the co-infections come into play and may be much more important in causing signs/symptoms of disease.
When I first got sick with CFS, I had high IgM for EBV, CMV, and HHV-6. Since I most likely first caught these viruses growing up in the California day care system, and I had a case of mono when I was a teenager, but I do not know from what virus, how is it that I got sick with them again when I first came down with CFS? Did the XMRV retrovirus allow these other herpes viruses to come back out of hiding? I know that once we have a virus, we always have a virus. Our bodies build up the ability to suppress them.
Now, six years later, I am completely housebound. Is this how the XMRV turned into the XAND (CFS) like HIV turns into Aids?
Unfortunately, when you contract these viruses you never really get entirely rid of them, even if you feel well again. Your immune system can hold them in check for long periods of time, but if you are run-down, suffer trauma or severe psychological stress, they can come out and cause you problems.
The XMRV virus may make the situation worse by suppressing your immune system, allowing the chronic infections to move from a resting to active phase. We have seen this for the viruses you mention as well as bacteria, especially the intracellular cell wall deficient type like Mycoplasma and Chlamydia that are so often found in chronic illnesses.
I like to use the analogy of HIV-1 and AIDS to explain the possible role of XMRV in chronic illnesses. The viruses themselves do not cause morbidity but they affect the immune system and cause other infections, viral, bacterial and fungal, to become more active and cause morbidity.
I am newly diagnosed CIFIDS( March 09) The periods of illness come and go and I have just recently become Ill again after two wonderful months being for the most part symptom free. What amazes me is in sharing my symptoms with others almost everyone has a family member or friend with the same problems. Just last week I spoke with a woman in Alabama who has two children and a husband ill as well as herself. This to me seems to be an epidemic and you would think that the CDC would be all over this considering the fact that it is more than likely in the blood supply.
I own two CA Corporations that have both been suffered financially due to my illness. The lost tax revenue alone for all those who are ill could help to pay down the deficit!
Please help to alert our government of the seriousness of this disease.
A related discussion, European STudies