Dr. Garth Nicolson on HGV

mojoey

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Reposted from Prohealth http://www.prohealth.com/blog/userPosts.cfm?thisUser=DrNicolson. I hope that's ok:


richvank - The retroviruses

Will you please comment on the newly discovered MLV-related retroviruses in CFS patients, and what relationship they might have to the other infectious pathogens you have found in CFS.
Thanks.
Rich Van Konynenburg

Reply:

Hi Rich,
The newly evolving field of human gamma retroviruses (HGV), also called XMRV , and chronic illnesses like CFS/FMS is fascinating. This type of virus has now been found at high incidence in some but not all studies on CFS patients. There may be technical reasons why some groups have not found these infections, but the field is new and in constant flux.

My guess is that similar to other related retroviruses the HGV may cause changes in our immune systems rather than directly causing the most obvious signs and symptoms associated with CFS. Their effect may thus be indirect, just like the HIV-1 retrovirus causing immune suppression in AIDS rather than directly causing the symptoms of AIDS. Thus HGV may set up patients for other opportunistic infections, such as Mycoplasma, Chlamydia, Borrelia, CMV, HHV6 and other bacteria and viruses that actually cause most CFS symptoms. This is why patients who have these other infections, such as bacterial infections, benefit from their specific treatment in the absence of anti-viral treatment. This would not occur if the symptoms were entirely caused by a retrovirus. Thus I predict that anti-retrovirus treatment will not eliminate most symptoms in CFS patients, because they are more likely caused by other infections. However, modulating immune responses by suppressing viruses that could affect immune systems could have some positive effects. Eventually this will all be worked out, and we will find out what role retroviruses, along with other bacteria and viruses, play in chronic illnesses like CFS and FMS.
Regarding eradication:


It's way too soon to tell. Unfortunately, retroviruses have a long history of being able to modify host DNA by insertion, resulting in genetic deletion, mutation, transposition, etc. Thus some effects could be long-lived if the retrovirus has the ability to be incorporated into host DNA.
 

Rrrr

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thank you for posting this. did he have any thoughts on treatments? what did he recommend for "modulating immune response by suppressing virues"?
 

Francelle

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This is why patients who have these other infections, such as bacterial infections, benefit from their specific treatment in the absence of anti-viral treatment. This would not occur if the symptoms were entirely caused by a retrovirus. Thus I predict that anti-retrovirus treatment will not eliminate most symptoms in CFS patients, because they are more likely caused by other infections.” Garth Nicholson

Altho’ I don’t know my XMRV/HGV status, I have to say that a prolonged course of Azithromycin and shorter terms of other A/B’s have helped to abate quite a number of my distressing symptoms. However the underlying condition of M.E./FMS has remained. For instance none of the neurological symptoms were helped in the slightest.

So I agree with Garth Nicholson that where there are other co-morbid infections they need to be treated separately. However the inference that treating the retrovirus where it exists will not eliminate other specific M.E./FMS symptoms remains puzzling.
 

Daffodil

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"if the retrovirus has the ability to be incorporated into host DNA..."

why does he say this? dont all retroviruses have this ability?
 

mojoey

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Dr. Nicolson doesn't seem to be a retrovirus expert. His work has mainly centered around lipid therapy and mycoplasma, esp myco fermantans in GWI. The fact that he also said:

"We and others found that treatment of the cohort of GWI that have M. fermentans with doxycycline lead to complete recovery in most patients."

probably lends to some bias on how effective treating secondary infections would be in CFS patients
 

redo

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"HHV6 and other bacteria and viruses that actually cause most CFS symptoms. This is why patients who have these other infections, such as bacterial infections, benefit from their specific treatment in the absence of anti-viral treatment. This would not occur if the symptoms were entirely caused by a retrovirus"

Yes. I agree totally with that one. I've got a blog post about it. Different words, but same points.

And, as you say mojoey, the last statement you quoted sounds like an overstatement. If he said considerable improvement, I would have agreed, but complete recovery is stretching it...

And -- I don't think he should be calling the virus HGV. Sounds too much like another retrovirus. HGRV is a better name.

Thanks for posting mojoey.
 

mojoey

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I think with ME/CFS we have too many problems with too many systems that making any deductions about cause based on immediate improvement of symptoms is meaningless. Some patients have benefited from antiviral therapy for HHV-6, EBV, CMV, etc but many have not. In fact one of the few treatments that has improved my symptoms has been cortef, so according to Dr. Nicolson's logic, adrenal burnout might be primarily responsible for my condition, yet just about everyone agrees this is a downstream event.

It's possible treating this retrovirus may not cure all of our symptoms, but the more important question is: does treating the retrovirus remove the conditions that prevent us from recovering? If after treating a retro for 1 year, I don't feel much better but then re-do a 21-day course of valcyte and recover (where a 1-yr course of valcyte in the past didn't do much), then clearly logic would suggest the retro is the lynchpin.
 

*GG*

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"if the retrovirus has the ability to be incorporated into host DNA..."

why does he say this? dont all retroviruses have this ability?
I believe that all known retroviruses can be incorporated. But I think much less is known about XMRV.
 
C

Cloud

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Seems we all agree that treating the opportunistic infections relieves some degree of symptoms and therefore the retrovirus can't be the direct cause of our symptoms. I got tremendous relief treating CMV, so I do agree. But I also believe based on my own experience that there is a puppetmaster, and since xmrv is found in pwc's at a much higher percentage than the others bugs, I continue to believe it to be the great oz.

I believe that if I tip toe around the xmrv, and not prod it to flare up, I may not relapse the CMV. But that's not gonna work for a long term solution. A long term solution will require dealing with xmrv as well.