After the initial discovery and studies of this agent over a decade, Levy's research turned to human retroviruses. Once the AIDS epidemic emerged in 1981, much of Levy's work focused on the human retrovirus HIV, which Levy co-discovered in 1983 with two other research groups.
But XMRV came back into focus for Levy in 2009, when he answered a phone call from his former colleague Dan Peterson, MD, of the Whittemore Peterson Institute in Reno, NV, where the 101 samples that yielded traces of the mouse-related virus XMRV had been collected. Peterson, who sees many Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patients in his clinical practice, asked Levy to test blood samples from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patients.
Levy worked with collaborators at the Wisconsin Viral Research Group in Milwaukee, the Blood Systems Research Institute in San Francisco, the Open Medicine Institute in Mountain View, CA and Abbott in Abbott Park, IL.
They examined blood samples from 61 patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, including 43 who had been previously reported as infected with the mouse-related virus XMRV. Using procedures similar to those performed by the Nevada and Maryland investigators for detecting XMRV and antiviral antibodies, Levy and colleagues found no evidence of XMRV or any other mouse-related virus. Some of the patients were studied on more than one occasion.
They also showed that XMRV was highly unlikely to be an agent of infection. Even though the 2009 paper indicated that it could infect human cells grown in the laboratory, Levy said, the mouse-rela
|Contact: Jason Socrates Bardi|
University of California - San Francisco