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My Old Mouse Theory

Blog entry posted by George, Jul 15, 2010.

O.k. first what do we know about epidemics or pandemics? We know that air born virus' spread very quickly. The H1N1 took 7 months to go world wide. We know that in the case of HIV it took between 60 and 70 years for it to become a pandemic. (Basically 1915 to 1975/85.)

HIV is spread both through sexual contact, and passed via blood from mother to child or in the case of transfusions. It's estimated that it took around 10 to 20 people being infected with SIV originaly in order for the virus to mutate and effectively infect humans hence it became HIV.

The human HIV infection is traced to bush hunters along the African coast who hunted and killed monkey's for meat to sell. By butchering the monkeys into meat they came in contact with large quantities of blood. These individuals were usually single men who often made stops in ports or cities to sell the meat. They passed the HIV on to whomever they had intercourse with. And those individuals passed it on and so on and so on. Most of these individuals were sexually active with multiple partners and so were able to keep the virus alive by passing it on before becoming sick and dying.

So using that information how can we extrapolate the spread of XMRV with high rates of cases showing up in the 1980's? Well what do we know about XMRV to date?

We know for a fact that XMRV is transmittable in male semen as noted in the study

Fibrils of Prostatic Acid Phosphatase Fragments Boost Infections with XMRV (Xenotropic Murine Leukemia Virus-Related Virus), a Human Retrovirus Associated with Prostate Cancer Received 6 February 2009/ Accepted 21 April 2009 by the journal of Virology

The study states ;

1. Furthermore, XMRV RNA was detected in prostatic secretions of some men with prostate cancer. The fact that the precursor of SEVI is produced in abundance by the prostate indicates that XMRV replication occurs in an environment that provides a natural enhancer of viral infection, and this may play a role in the spread of this virus in the human population.

We don't know if it is spread via vaginal fluids at this time since a study has not been done on this but I would think it a pretty good bet that it does.

We know for certain that it spreads via blood and blood sera or plasma based on

Detection of an Infectious Retrovirus, XMRV, in Blood Cells of Patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

The study states

We next investigated whether the viral proteins detected in PBMCs from CFS patients represent infectious XMRV. Activated lymphocytes. . . as well as virus preparations from these cells (Fig. 3C), revealed 90- to 100-nm-diameter budding particles consistent with a gamma (type C) retrovirus.

We also found that XMRV could be transmitted from CFS patient plasma to LNCaP cells when we applied a virus centrifugation protocol to enhance infectivity (6, 14, 15). Both XMRV gp70 Env and p30 Gag were abundantly expressed in LNCaP cells incubated with plasma samples from 10 of 12 CFS patients, whereas no viral protein expression was detected in LNCaP cells incubated with plasma samples from 12 healthy donors (Fig. 4A). Likewise, LNCaP cells incubated with patient plasma tested positive for XMRV p30 Gag in IFC assays (fig. S5B). We also observed cell-free transmission of XMRV from the PBMCs of CFS patients to the T cell line SupT1 (Fig. 4B) and both primary and secondary
transmission of cell-free virus from the activated T cells of CFS patients to normal T cell cultures (Fig. 4C). Together, these results suggest that both cell-associated and cell-free transmission of CFS-associated XMRV are possible.

We don't know if XMRV is spread via saliva since no study has been done on this. HIV is not transmissible through saliva or casual contact so most likely the XMRV retrovirus won't be either. And while we do know that it is present in the respiratory tract (so is HIV) we don't know if it is transmissible this way. If it's like HTLV-1/2 and HIV-1/2 then it won't be airborn. Plus based on the total number of cases currently 17 million ill and over 180 million infected it would have to have become airborn in the early 2000's (look at the spread of H1N1) And we know that it goes back to at least 1934 and possibly to 1850.

Base on the information coming from the founding fathers and mothers of this retrovirus we are hearing that a cofactor is needed to activate the XMRV into an participant in XAND related illnesses. (CFS/ME, autism, atypical MS, cancer, and possibly others) So each of us had to have had the XMRV retrovirus before we were hit by another virus say EBV which activated the XMRV.

The way I understand it the activating virus is stimulated the immune system thus providing host T,B, and NK cells. XMRV likes those cell especially for replication. So EBV or which ever virus provided the opportunity for the XMRV to replicate. That replication process is why those infected never got better.

Most of us are familiar with the X graph.

My speculation is that when you are hit by a normal everyday virus that would normally not be a problem for you to deal with, what is actually happening is that you are creating homes for XMRV to move into and raise some kids. And they never leave.

If the HIV pandemic took around 60 to 70 years to infect enough people to become noticeable in the general population then it's not too much of a stretch to figure that the same rate might apply to XMRV. The XMRV became noticeable in the 1980 and was still noticeable in the 1990's. Meaning by the 1980's a good portion of the population had the virus. So if you are sharing the flu bug in your office then it would stand to reason that a number of individuals in your office would come down with a XAND illness sometimes known as CFS.

Right now there are possibly 10 million American walking around with XMRV just waiting for the right event to trigger them. My guess is that some of those people will never come down with anything. Some may have stronger immune systems, the right set of genetics to fight it off or perhaps less of a viral load. These are the dark areas that need the light of many studies to say for sure.

The next question of how did we all become infected and why were their so many outbreaks in the 80's. I have a theory on that and it's just theory but try it out and see if it fits. Most of the PhD people start the outbreaks in 1934 at Los Angeles General Hospital. I've seen some theory's that go back to 1850 but most start with 1934 and work their way forward.

Remember that it was between 1975 and 1985 that the HIV pandemic peaked approximately 60 to 70 years after the initial jump of SIV to human HIV. Which puts the initial infections of HIV to somewhere between 1890 and 1915. Now if XMRV followed something like the same path and we look between 60 to 70 years from the peak outbreak years you are look around 1915 to 1930 for an event that would allow for XMRV a variant of MLV or mouse virus to enter the human population undetected and be passed on and on an on. So what was that event?

I found a good article here that may explain how the jump in species occurred.

I'll quote from the article

It all starts in 1900 with Abbie E.C. Lathrop of Granby, Mass. Lathrop was a 32-year-old former schoolteacher who had moved to Granby around that time with the notion of starting a poultry farm. That soon flopped, and she switched from chickens to rodents, hoping to cash in on the Victorian craze for "fancy" mice.

At around the same time a Harvard University zoologist named William Castle ordered mice to begin working on genetic experiments. He was a leader in his field at the time. However the man who would ultimately solidify the mouse as perfect for genetic and laboratory testing was one of Castle's undergraduate students, Clarence Cook Little.

Little's innovation was the "inbred strain." By mating brother to sister over and over, he created rodents that were genetically alike. In fact, after 20 generations the mice were nearly 99 percent identical. In 1909 he created the first inbred strain, dba, which is still used in research. Before inbred strains, scientists couldn't say for certain whether their results were because of the genetic quirks of a particular mouse or the experiments.

Is it possible then that one or more of these "inbred strains" carried a mutated form of MLV which would remain unnamed for a century? I don't know for a fact that this is the case however I do know that these mice where shipped to hundreds of laboratories and research facilities around the US and world. by 1929 bigger and better mouse holding facilities were needed. Little persuaded auto industry tycoons Edsel Ford (son of Henry) and Roscoe Jackson, chief of Hudson Motorcar Co., to finance an independent research facility, Jackson Laboratory, near one of their favorite vacation spots, Bar Harbor, Maine. Mouse research bloomed. Pasted from <http://pages.slc.edu/~krader/sunarticle.html>

Now the first outbreak is usually figured as the Los Angeles County General Hospital so let's look at that.

In 1896 USC medical school and teaching facility opened it closed from lack of funds in 1910 and reopened in 1928. It was affiliated with Los Angeles County General Hospital which opened a new modern county hospital on State Street in 1933 in what is today the Los Angeles County and USC Medical Center.

So the theory would go like this. . .

Much like the HIV infection of bush hunters, XMRV infected between 10 and 20 persons in the Los Angeles county hospital by way of the USC teaching and research facility and probably many more persons. The XMRV retrovirus lays dormant in the population being passed on and on, including future generations of children. Until, it is activated by a Co-infection. Hence the 1934 outbreak at L.A. General. Since then hundreds of thousands of people have become infected around the world we now have a pandemic. Manifesting in a variety of ways based on genetic predisposition.

My family is from LA originally and both my mother and I were born at L.A. General hospital. My mother had uterine cancer at age 28. She was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder in her 30's. She came down with lymphoma at 39 and died at age 47 in 1991.

Me I've enjoyed perfect health all my life. Hiking, Biking and generally enjoying all that life has to offer. When I decided to go into teaching at age 36 that's when I started getting sick. Every time I got the "illness of the year" that was going around, Mono or flu or what ever I became a little weaker until finally I got sick and didn't recover at all.

So anyway that's my Outbreak theory. Colonel Mustard in the Library with a candle stick!!!
  1. jenbooks
    Cool ideas, George. You a smart doggie! :)
  2. Gemini

    Thanks for the interesting article, liked your theory & historical perspective!

    In 1980's, I read about Beatrice Hahn, Birmingham, (U of Ala) tracing HIV back to its African source. That was great science, esp given the virus detection tools of the day.

    In 1990's, I read about the 1934 LA County Hospital outbreak: "In 1938, having overcome the serious obstruction by senior officials in the United States' health bureaucracy, Dr. A. G. Gilliam published the first scientific review of an epidemic of what is known today as ME or CFS. This small 90 page book should be required reading for any researcher or student of ME/CFS..." (Source: Byron Hyde's book on ME/CFS). Gilliam agonized over not being able to identify the virus causing this outbreak. You and your family's connection to the LA Hospital is really fascinating!

    The 2000's are a new age altogether--amazing 21st Century virus detection technology, DNA microarrays like the ViroChip that discovered XMRV...capable of detecting all viruses known to man, new strains of existing viruses, and new viruses.

    Wonder if there are any stored blood/tissue samples from the 1934 outbreak? If so, wouldn't it be fun to put them on the ViroChip and see what viruses are detected! (Big smile!)

  3. George
    Hey guys thanks for posting comments. Some day someone will actually keep some statistical information on us Zoe and maybe we will be able to answer some of them questions! (grins)
  4. dschlindwein
    X-Files!! I expect something like this may well be the story. I really enjoyed reading your blog.

    I became ill in 1996 during/after a pregnancy, shortly after the fetus died but before I experienced the actual miscarriage (bleeding out), which was delayed for about three months (this is called a "missed abortion"). My immune system may have been suppressed during the early pregnancy, as I believe is usual, and then when the fetus died and immune suppression ended, my body had to contend with the dead fetus for three months, fighting it as non-self.

    I think I noticed you had an earlier blog up...I'll go read it now.
  5. zoe.a.m.
    Colonel Mustard in the Library with a candle stick!!!

    I like it!!

    I too began my descent into illness after only a year teaching/working in several schools (it took about 5 years to become ill with ME/CFS) where I was sick constantly. I remember falling asleep on Friday nights at about 7pm when I got home and feeling like I was in a coma all weekend. I actually think it was the pleasure of working with all the bright little faces that kept me from getting so sick even earlier on. Add to this a 3000-mile move and my fiance marrying my best friend and I think I was a wandering petri dish!

    I wonder what the increase is in children diagnosed with ME/CFS nowadays? I'm sure that the issues surrounding diagnosis will forever make that information unobtainable, but it's something to watch.
  6. firefly
    Great narrative George. I like how you've pieced it all together.