Study Shows XMRV, a Human Retrovirus Similar to HIV,
Causes Chronic Infection
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Patients have Hope that Research is Finding Answers
CORAL GABLES, FLA., FEB. 19 - On Feb. 16, the Journal of Virology published a study that shows
the recently-discovered human retrovirus, XMRV, leads to chronic infection in multiple body organs.
Previous peer-reviewed studies show a link between XMRV and patients with aggressive prostate
cancer and ME/CFS, also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis and chronic fatigue syndrome.
The study from the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the Emory University School
of Medicine shows Xenotropic Murine Leukemia Virus-related Virus (XMRV) can be found in the
spleen, lungs, gastrointestinal tract, lymph nodes and sex organs after being injected into the body.
Additionally, the monkeys in the study produced antibodies to fight the infection. Chronic infection and
immune system reaction are also common in the two other infectious human retroviruses: HTLV-1 and
"This brings hope that answers to this disease are within reach," said Tina Tidmore, spokesperson for
the ME/CFS Worldwide Patient Alliance (MCWPA), a grassroots patient advocacy group. "For the sake
of those who have been left to suffer and with the goal of protecting the blood supply, government
leaders need to seize this opportunity and immediately fund more research into this retrovirus and the
ME/CFS disease process." In 2010, an FDA/National Institutes of Health study showed XMRV-related
retroviruses in 6.8% of blood donors tested, indicating as many as 20 million Americans could be
ME/CFS is Disabling and Chronic
ME/CFS is a disabling NeuroEndocrineImmune disease that afflicts more than 1 million Americans and
an estimated l7 million people around the world. Patients are often confined to wheelchairs or become
bedbound. Common symptoms include profound exhaustion after performing simple tasks, sudden
plunging blood pressure, cognitive dysfunction, migraines and daily flu-like symptoms. The illness
strikes men and women, young and old, and is incurable.
ME/CFS first came to national attention during the AIDS epidemic in the early 1980s, when a cluster
outbreak of the illness occurred in Incline Village, Nev. and Lyndonville, New York. A 1991 Wistar
Institute study also showed a link to a retrovirus, but the government later halted their retroviral
In 2009, the Whittemore Peterson Institute (WPI) at the University of Nevada, Reno, working with the
National Cancer Institute and Cleveland Clinic, published a trailblazing study that found an HIV-like
retrovirus, XMRV, in the blood of 67% of ME/CFS patients and in 3.7% of healthy controls.
Meanwhile, though more than 4,000 peer-reviewed articles in medical journals have shown system-wide
immune, neurological, endocrine, gastro-intestinal and cardiac abnormalities in patients, the general
public is largely unaware of the gravity and prevalence of ME/CFS. In addition, the US government has
chronically underfunded research. In the National Institutes of Health budget for 2012, just $6 million is
allocated for ME/CFS research, compared to $135 million for multiple sclerosis and $114 million for
lupus. Yet twice as many people suffer from ME/CFS than multiple sclerosis.
For more information, and spokespeople, including leading researchers, scientists, physicians, patients,
and historians, visit http://mcwpa.org/.
About MCWPA: Our mission is to create an effective, cutting-edge advertising campaign addressing
the poor quality of life of individuals with ME/CFS. By issuing a collective and unified statement, our
community will no longer be silent and invisible. The MCWPA ad campaign is supported by
P.A.N.D.O.R.A. Inc.™, Vermont CFIDS Association, Inc., R.E.S.C.I.N.D., Rocky Mountain CFS/ME
and FM Association and the Wisconsin ME/CFS Association, Inc.