ok i'm gonna ask the question i've been holding off asking - if this needs it own thread someone let me know ... i haven't asked yet because i wasn't sure it was time (it's looking to me like it is now) & because i was afraid to look stupid, & because i may not like the answer... but can ya'll please tell me what taking antri-retro-virals or whatever you call them looks like? i know nothing about it. i mean, is it pills or an IV? is it a one time thing or a forever thing. really, talk to me like someone who knows nothing about them cuz i really don't. thanks
As my math teacher used to say, there are no stupid questions!
If they work in XMRV like the work in HIV, then you would probably hve to take pills forever. However it's possible that they may not:
Antiretrovirals were developed to treat HIV.
Antiretrovirals work by suppressing replication of HIV. HIV replicates by inserting itself into cells and using them to make copies of itself. It does this very quickly! It can take as little as 2 days for an HIV virus to make more of itself. HIV integrates into immune cells and it kills people when the amount of infection or "viral load" is so high that the immune system is too overwhelmed to do its job, and the body gets overwhelmed with infections that a healthy person could easily keep in check. With me so far?
Anitretrovirals block HIV from replicating. So, people with HIV who take antiretrovirals are protected from being overwhelmed by the virus. However, HIV stays in the body so people have to take the drugs forever, or HIV will start replicating again. Initially the early antiretrovirals were very toxic and patients had to take a lot of them, but, newer drugs come out all the time that have less side effects and they stuff a bunch stuff into one or two pills (or powders, or liquids) so that the dosing regimen isn't so dramatic.
Assuming that XMRV causes CFS (thought we don't know yet), we really don't know if antiretrovirals will work. They might. XMRV is a different kind of retrovirus than HIV. It doesn't replicate nearly as much, and we don't know if the replication process causes the immune dysfunction that causes symptoms (like HIV). There may be some other processes going on that need to be corrected. So, theoretically, it's possible that antiretrovirals that suppress XMRV replication will do nothing for our symptoms.
It's interesting to note that illnesses caused by HTLV, another retrovirus, are not treated with antiretrovirals.
So, it's very premature right now to speculate!