A Giant Leap for ME Research!
By Robert Huntington

The month of March saw the first totally reliable test for HHV-6 (human herpes virus 6) available though ViraCor, as well as for CMV (cytomegalovirus) and EBV (Epstein-Barr Virus).  ViraCor is the company associated with HHV-6 researchers Dr. Konstance Knox and Dr. Daniel Carrigan.  The new technology used for this test, called ViActive RNASM PCR (Jane, the SM following the RNA should be on
the top, not the bottom, but smaller.) and it detects an active virus in the blood.  It also can measure vial replication by using an RNA amplification process.  The test was designed to specifically differentiate between active and latent infection.
    Said Dr. Joseph Brewer, an infectious disease specialist who is considered an expert in ME(Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, a.k.a. CFIDS), "The ability to identify active CMV, EBV and HHV-6 infections by relatively noninvasive means in patients and to obtain results this quickly has important implications with respect to therapeutic interventions."   Before this test, patients could receive many false negatives, although false positives were rarely, if ever seen.  Researchers found they had to test spinal tap fluid to verify for research whether the patient had
an active infection.
    In addition to detecting the virus in the blood, the test also differentiates between variant A and B in HHV-6.  Because the test is so specific, being both quantitative (giving a viral load) and qualitative, patients now have access to the first reliable test for HHV-6, thought to be one of the main causal viruses in the disease.   There are other ways of testing.  A rapid culture, formally used by Drs. Knox and
Carrigan, could detect active infection but could not control for inhibition or provide the viral load.  A PCR blood test could not find active infection. The PCR was the test used by the Centers for Disease Control that caused them to deny any HHV-6 in ME/CFIDS, although the researchers there knew this testing method was totally inappropriate.  A PCR DNA on cerebral spinal fluid could detect an infection
but not the viral load and took from 2 to 7 days.  An IgG could not detect infection while one for IgM could give questionable results.  This new test takes only a 24-48 turn around time.    It can be used for diagnostic purposes as well as monitoring active infections of CMV, EBV, and HHV-6 because it is highly sensitive and is also controlled for the presence of inhibitors. We, at long last, have an irrefutable test available!  It is a giant leap for the field of ME research! At this time, ViraCor is not only the first to offer this reliable testing, but the only
one to offer it to all patients.  Your physician may reach ViraCor at 1-800-305-5198 to find out how to send it blood samples for reliable results.  Their website that gives further information is at www.viracor.com .

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