Virus Linked to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Study Shows MLV Is in Blood of People With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
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More Questions Than Answers? continued...
"We don't know why that is," he says. "It is baffling, and we need to sort it out rather than ignore it. It's there. Does it cause disease? We don't know, but it's there and that needs to be investigated."
"There is only one way to prove or disprove XMRV's role and that is to do a proper study with antiviral drugs," Mason says. In an editorial accompanying the new study, he suggests studies that compare antiviral drugs with placebo or dummy pills on viral load and CFS symptoms in affected individuals are now feasible.
Such drugs are used to treat HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, and can cause several side effects.
"The drugs are well-tolerated, and we would be justified ethically to see if they work," he tells WebMD. He likens this situation to the now Nobel-prize-winning research that first tested antibiotics to determine if some ulcers are caused by the bacterium H. pylori.
"We didn't know that H. pylori was causative until they tried using medicine and it worked," says Donnica Moore, MD, a women's health expert and president of Sapphire Women's Health Group in Far Hills. N.J.
The issue is a personal one for Moore, whose son was diagnosed with CFS about six years ago. As a result, she has become an outspoken advocate for research into the cause and cures for CFS. Moore is also a spokeswoman for the Whitemore Peterson Institute for Neuro-Immune Disease, the group that published a previous report linking XMRV and CFS.
"I hope this study puts to rest any question about the validity of the [findings] and will allow science to move on toward diagnostic, treatments, and causality studies," she says.