New Antiviral Screening Method Identified for HHV-6A/GS
by Alan Cocchetto   2001

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have patented a method for identifying antiviral agents that would be effective against HHV-6A Strain GS. This is the virus, formally identified by Dr. Robert Gallo, from the National Cancer Institute and discoverer of HIV, that his research team had identified in the Lake Tahoe outbreak of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome during the mid-1980's.

Dr. Robert Ricciardi and Dr. Kai Lin, both scientists at the University of Pennsylvania, have created a fast and convenient antiviral screening method that can be used to evaluate "thousands of compounds" for their potential to disrupt DNA synthesis by selected human herpesvirus polymerase and processivity factor proteins. By creating a systematic method to properly examine and test compounds for appropriate and effective antiviral activity, provides researchers and pharmaceutical companies with a mechanism to streamline the drug identification process.

This represents a critically important step in appropriate drug selection since different viral strains often have different drug sensitivities. The procedures and methods developed by Drs. Ricciardi and Lin should remove much of the guesswork often employed by other in-vitro methods previously used by scientists for antiviral drug evaluations
The National CFIDS Foundation is optimistic that this research will provide a vital stepping stone required for proper identification of pharmaceutical compounds that will appropriately target HHV-6A/GS effectively - something that patients with these infections desperately need and have waited a long time for. The implications here could be staggering due to the fact that HHV-6A/GS has not only been identified in CFS patients but also in patients with AIDS, Multiple Sclerosis, and various cancers as well. The FDA's own virology lab had previously
identified HHV-6A/GS as oncogenic. Fortunately, HHV-6 science is moving forward and this work, in particular, appears very encouraging!

The National CFIDS Foundation * 103 Aletha Rd, Needham Ma 02492 * (781) 449-3535 Fax (781) 449-8606