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by Mindy Kitei

The just-released study detects variants of the retrovirus XMRV in most CFS patients. In addition, nearly 7 percent of the healthy U.S. controlsall of whom are blood donorstest positive, signaling the contamination of the U.S. blood supply.

Mindy Kitei


Phoenix Rising Founder
Well done Mindy!
Here's what I wrote in the XMRV Buzz Page

Kitei Breaks Alter Story - doing her due diligence Mindy Kitei at CFS Central not only got a hold of the paper before publication but also interview Dr. Alter, Dr. Komaroff and others.

The surprise of the paper was what Dr. Alter didn't find - XMRV! Even more surprising was the fact that his finding of a melange of closely related viruses actually made sense in some ways. One reason that none of the six or so CFS studies have been able to find 'XMRV' may be that the type of XMRV they looked for was different. This doesn't explain, though, how the WPI found 'the same type' of XMRV in 67% of its original cohort since that cohort was made up of patients across the US.

Kitei, however, reported that Dr. Alter believes his findings confirm the original XMRV findings stating "Viruses tend not to be homogenous,” Alter explained to CFS Central in a telephone interview. “The fact that we didn’t find XMRV doesn’t bother me because we already knew that retroviruses tend to be variable. They mutate a lot, basically. This is true of HIV and HCV [hepatitis C virus]. It’s not one virus. It’s a family of viruses.” Dr. Alter should certainly know - his work on hepatitis viruses that lead to the discovery of two new viruses garnered him the 'Nobel Prize' of Medicine - the Lasker Award. Dr. Alter found no less than four different types of heretofore undiscovered mLV's in CFS. They were named, appropriately, "CFS Type I", "CFS Type II", etc.

Mutating over time like any good virus should - Dr. Alter was also able to find the pathogens in blood that was fifteen years old and then retest those individuals today. He found the virus present in 7/8 of them in mutated form - which is exactly what one would expect from a virus over tiem.

According to Kitei, Dr. Alter felt the delay in releasing the study only strengthened the study, stating “There were no changes in the conclusions, but we added data that made the conclusions stronger,” he explained. “For one thing, we did some further work to feel confidant that there was no contamination…. We had hundreds of negative controls, and every assay had negative controls. And then we used an assay from mouse mitochondrial DNA and found that there was no evidence of mouse contamination. We had variation in the viruses we were finding. If there was a contaminant, you’d find one species, not several.”

Now Dr. Alter will give XMRV its next big test - he will search for it in a wide variety of disorders. The danger is that it is widespread in chronic diseases, which, would negate its importance unless it really is some sort of superbug. Hopefully, it will be found clustered in a series of 'NEID's' such as FM, GWS, MCS, IBS. Now we await the results of the briefing. For more on Mindy's breaking story


Senior Member
Alter says no proven link, yet still named the virus variants CFS... This is a big endorsement
Well, where else are you going to look for the bug, in healthy blood donors?

Note also that the alternative explanation, if this class of virus is not the cause, is that there must be immune defects which make us more susceptible. Compare this with the CDC statement on immunology. Either way the psychogenic hypothesis has taken a serious wound.


Senior Member
I just love that we have a virus named after our illness. Looks we are stuck with CFS for a while. but, it might be cool to say, "I have CFS-1 virus."


Kind of makes you want to call the CDC and ask for their advice on how to treat CFS-1 virus!

Mya Symons

Mya Symons
I have a question on the following that perhaps someone could help me answer:

Quote from article: "After the paper was pulled in June, the researchers revisited eight of the 25 patients Komaroff supplied. The banked blood from 15 years ago was compared with fresh blood from those eight drawn this summer. Seven of the eight remained positive. According to Komaroff, the patient who became negative hadnt recovered.

However, that doesnt mean that this retrovirus doesn't cause CFS, and it doesnt mean that the patient isnt still infected with the MLV. Since the hosts DNA becomes inextricably intertwined with a retrovirus, infection lasts for life. Besides, as noted in both the Science study and in the PNAS study, finding this retrovirus in the blood is difficult. In fact, Emory University scientists who injected XMRV into macaques this past spring reported that even when the virus was undetectable in the blood, it thrived in the reproductive organs as well as the spleen, gut, bladder, lung, liver and lymph nodes. Explained Alter, When viruses are in low titer, sometimes you can find them one day and not find them another day.

Especially regarding the "when viruses are in low titer, sometimes you can find them one day and not find them another day.": I have been waiting for the assay/antibody test before getting tested because $450.00. is more than I can afford right now. Does this indicate that depending on the day a person is tested, there is a greater chance of a false negative with the antibody/essay test than there is with the virus culture? To be safe, should a person get both the antibody test and the virus culture? Does the antibody/assay test depend on the titer they are referring to?