The first symposium on the third known human retrovirus, XMRV, was recently held in Reno Nevada at Whittemore Peterson. Feeling the need to share this important news, Dr. Burrascano sent the following message:
Hello all from Dr. B.
I just returned from the first official scientific symposium of the Whittemore-Peterson Institute on the topic of XMRV.
We formed a working group to be in constant touch and we plan to meet regularly because advances are coming so rapidly.
Big news that everyone should know and adopt is that we have proposed a name change for the virus.
This virus is a human, not mouse virus, and it is the first and so far only gamma-retrovirus known to infect people. Also, it is clearly not an “endogenous” retrovirus (one that is present in all genomes due to ancient infection).
Because of all of this, and because of the desire to begin on the right track, the new name of the virus is HGRV- Human Gamma Retro Virus. The illness caused by this infection is named HGRAD- Human Gamma Retrovirus Associated Disease.
We plan to announce this at the upcoming NIH retroviral conference this September.
Definitely stay tuned- the volume of new and important information about this virus and its disease associations is increasing rapidly and in my opinion should be a concern to every patient with chronic neuro-immune diseases, including those with chronic Lyme.
Joseph J. Burrascano Jr. M.D.
Water Mill, NY, USA
Retroviruses were only discovered in the 80’s when it became possible to culture T-cells in-vitro. However, they are extremely rare in humans including AIDS (HIV1 & HIV2), and HGRV is the first ever gamma human retrovirus.
What makes a “Retrovirus”? They are enveloped viruses, with an RNA genome. The name is derived from the fact that the virus particle contains an RNA-dependent DNA Polymerase (Reverse transcriptase).
This enzyme converts the RNA genome into DNA, which then integrates into the host chromosomal DNA. The reverse transcriptase is highly error prone and rapid genetic variation is a feature of this group.
In other words it becomes a part of the human DNA and then is actually propagated and continually created by our own bodies.
The good news is that testing for the retrovirus antibodies is already available, and according to an article in the Wall Street Journal, some limited drug trials using approved drugs for other retroviruses have shown some early promise.
The Whittemore Peterson is the first institute in the world dedicated to neuro-immune disease integrating patient treatment, basic and clinical research, and medical education. Their mission exists to bring discovery, knowledge, and effective treatments to patients with illnesses that are caused by acquired dysregulation of both the immune system and the nervous system, often resulting in life long disease and disability.
Their goals include:
- To facilitate and advance patient care
- Research the patho-physiology of neuro-immune diseases such as ME/CFS, fibromyalgia, atypical MS, and autism
- Develop therapeutics, diagnostics and prevention strategies for this spectrum of diseases
- To advance and support medical education and physician training.
I may be climbing out on a limb, but given the fact that they invited Dr. Burrascano to be a part of this research team tells me that they are open to the possibility of chronic Lyme disease; both as a disease falling within their mission guidelines. It would appear that they are not bound by the IDSA guidelines.
Originally posted August 24, 2010.