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Chronic fatigue syndrome is not linked to suspect viruses
Date:9/17/2012

The causes of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) have long eluded scientists. In 2009, a paper in the journal Science linked the syndromesometimes called myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME)to infection with a mouse retrovirus called XMRV (xenotropic murine leukemia virus (MLV)-related virus). Given that affected patients often have symptoms consistent with a chronic infection, this viral connection seemed plausible, and the findings were celebrated as a major achievement for a complex disease that afflicts nearly 1 million in the U.S. Another study in early 2010 published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences detected murine retrovirus-like sequences (designated pMLV: polytropic MLV) in CFS/ME patients, which provided further support for a viral theory.

Follow-up investigations by several laboratories were unable to detect XMRV or pMLV in CFS patients. However, none of them examined a sufficiently large population of well-characterized CFS/ME patients to rigorously test the validity of those findings. In the absence of a definitive study, many in the general public may have retained the opinion that XMRV and/or pMLV are responsible for the disease, and some clinicians continue the "off-label" prescription of antiretroviral drugs.

To definitively resolve this issue, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), commissioned a study under the auspices of the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, and the NIH's National Cancer Institute and Warren G. Magnuson Clinical Center.

The research is published in mBio.

A total of 293 subjects, 147 with CFS/ME and 146 matched controls, were recruited from six sites across the United States following extensive clinical assessments and laboratory scr
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Contact: stephanie Berger
sb2247@columbia.edu
212-305-4372
Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

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