Conference Report (HHV-6 Foundation): The 6th International Conference on HHV-6 & 7 and satellite conference on Viruses in CFS held in Baltimore June 19- 23rd were very successful, with over 230 scientists and clinicians in attendance. We were also pleased to welcome representatives from five drug companies and half-dozen diagnostic companies who are exploring therapeutic options and new diagnostic assays.
International Conference on HHV-6 & 7:
- Kazuhiro Kondo, MD, PhD, of the Jikei University Medical School in Tokyo identified a novel human herpesvirus-6 (HHV-6) protein present in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) patients but not healthy controls that may contribute to psychological symptoms often associated with that and other disorders. (Read more…)
- Italian researchers, professors Arnoldo Caruso of the University of Brescia and Dario Di Luca of the University of Ferrara presented data suggesting that human HHV-6 infects and persists in a dormant state in endothelial cells, the cells lining blood vessels, and that the latency protein U94 causes these cells to lose their ability to grow, to form new blood vessels, and to take part in healing processes. This finding has potential consequences for both cardiac disease and tumor control. (Read more…)
- Danish scientists Professor Per Hollsberg, MD and his PhD student Vanda Lauridsen Turcanova from the University of Aarhus In Denmark demonstrated that HHV-6 activates endogenous retrovirus HERV-K18 with possible consequences for autoimmunity. Viral infections are known to worsen autoimmune conditions. (Read more…)
- Dr. Jose Montoya, an infectious disease specialist at Stanford University, released preliminary findings on his double-blind placebo-controlled antiviral trial of Valcyte for a subset of patients displaying high antibody levels to human HHV-6 and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). Statistically significant cognitive improvement was noted in the Multidemensional Fatigue Inventory (MFI-20) Mental Fatigue subscale and on patient self-reported of cognitive functioning, but there was not a significant result on the overall MFI-20 index. Data from treadmill testing, cytokine analysis, gene expression and other viral markers is still pending and will be announced at a later date.
Symposium on Viruses in CFS & Post-viral Fatigue:
- Brigitte Huber, PhD, of the Tufts University School of Medicine presented evidence at a medical conference that suggested a reactivated ancient retrovirus embedded in the human genome may be active in chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and multiple sclerosis (MS) patients. Dr. Huber found that both MS and CFS patients (whose illness had been triggered by infectious mononucleosis) were at a higher relative risk for containing a HERV-K18 variant known to be particularly potent at inducing superantigen activity. Superantigens are proteins that are able to induce a strong undifferentiated T-cell response believed to impair the regulation of the immune system over time.
- Birgitta Evengard, MD from the Karolinska Institute reported that 33 twin pairs discordant for CFS, the twins had higher median EBV Early Antigen antibody levels than matched controls. VCA and EBNA antibodies did not differ between the two groups. The median HHV-6 Antibody levels did not differ between patients and controls. The data on both is preliminary since only two dilutions were done. No data was supplied on whether there was a subset of patients with significantly elevated antibody levels to HHV-6.