Monday, August 20, 2012

Active HHV-6 infection associated with ME/CFS?

Association of Active Human Herpesvirus-6, -7 and Parvovirus B19 Infection with Clinical Outcomes in Patients with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Svetlana Chapenko 1
Angelika Krumina 2
Inara Logina 3
Santa Rasa 1
Maksims Chistjakovs 1
Alina Sultanova 1
Ludmila Viksna 2
Modra Murovska 1

1 August Kirchenstein Institute of Microbiology and Virology
2 Department of Infectology and Dermatology
3 Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery

All: Riga Stradins University, Riga, Latvia


Frequency of active human herpesvirus-6, -7 (HHV-6, HHV-7) and parvovirus B19 (B19) infection/coinfection and its association with clinical course of ME/CFS was evaluated.

108 ME/CFS patients and 90 practically healthy persons were enrolled in the study.

Viral genomic sequences were detected by PCR, virus-specific antibodies and cytokine levels—by ELISA, HHV-6 variants—by restriction analysis.

Active viral infection including concurrent infection was found in 64.8% (70/108) of patients and in 13.3% (12/90) of practically healthy persons.

Increase in peripheral blood leukocyte DNA HHV-6 load as well as in proinflammatory cytokines’ levels was detected in patients during active viral infection.

Definite relationship was observed between active betaherpesvirus infection [??? betaherpesvirinae include HCMV!] and subfebrility, lymphadenopathy and malaise after exertion, and between active B19 infection and multijoint pain.

Neuropsychological disturbances were detected in all patients.

The manifestation of symptoms was of more frequent occurrence in patients with concurrent infection.

The high rate of active HHV-6, HHV-7 and B19 infection/coinfection with the simultaneous increase in plasma proinflammatory cytokines’ level as well as the association between active viral infection and distinctive types of clinical symptoms shows necessity of simultaneous study of these viral infections for identification of possible subsets of ME/CFS.

(via CO-CURE)
This seems like a reasonably large study, with 108 ME/CFS patients and 90 controls.

Might be the case that HHV-6 is involved, or it might not be the case. I'm still skeptical.

One needs to be cautious: Other countries may use the criteria differently, when translated to the local language. Doctors there might have different traditions how to diagnose, and what to diagnose. E.g. CFS seems to be unknown in France and the French-speaking part of Belgium – if you did a study about CFS in France, the results would not be trustworthy.

The abstract could have been written a lot clearer.

Why do they suddenly write about betaherpesvirinae? Neither HHV-7, nor B19 are betaherpesvirinae! And betaherpesvirinae include HCMV (HHV-5)! This is confusing.

And why did they not distinguish between HHV-6A and HHV-6B?

At least it seems that if you do not have multijoint pain, then you can ignore parvovirus B19.

PS: I am always pleased to see that clinical research still seems to be a woman's domain in the former-communist countries.


  1. "And why did they not distinguish between HHV-6A and HHV-6B?"

    only three people are qualified to do that? (however, I know the name of only one of them: Ablashi DV. I cannot verify that neither of the other two participated in this study...)

  2. As far as I understand, the distinction between 6A and 6B is neither the metaphorical "rocket science", nor the metaphorical "brain surgery".

    6A and 6B have differing DNA sequences, and you just need use the right PCR primers.

    And the knowledge about 6A and 6B (especially in the context of ME/CFS) isn't exactly brand new – just ask Jose Montoya from Stanford.

    One thing would be if they had a long lead time for this study, but than you would at least *mention* 6A and 6B, that you couldn't test it yet, as it was brand new.

    I guess these researchers from Lativa are unaware of the work researcher in their field do in other countries – whether that is a good or bad thing (considering the "psychological" nature of some of the research done), I don't know.


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