By Gail Kansky and Robert Huntington
The National CFIDS Foundation, INC. has helped fund small research projects in the past, but this is its first try to fund a major effort in the "offensive" field. "In-Vitro Screening of Compounds for Ability to Suppress the Replication of Human Herpesvirus Six: Special Reference to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome," a project by DRS. Konstance Knox and Donald Carrigan, has begun! It may take another year to raise the full amount of funding necessary for this research, but our board members agreed that the chance of finding a viable treatment for what could be a factor of the cause of CFIDS/ME was too important to pass up. Half of the funding has already been sent to the Institute for Viral Pathogenesis so the work could begin quickly.
"Of the samples from the CFS Patients in which HHV-6 DNA was detected, 53% were HHV-6A and HHV-6B," wrote DRS. Knox and Carrigan. "We propose that HHV-6A is the cause of CFS in some patients and that these patients are distinct from the other CFS patients with respect to the etiology of their disease." HHV-6A can destroy lymphocytes that include Natural Killer (NK) Cells that are known to be decreased in patients with CFIDS/ME. this action can account for the debilitating range of symptoms that patients experience.
The researchers have begun their studies with a potentially potent antiviral that is administered orally and that has been shown to be well tolerated in current FDA trials. Other drugs will be tested in an effort to bring down the activity of the 2-5A synthetase/R Nase L pathway that has been found to be overactive by Dr. Robert Suhadolnik.
The medication, to be successful, must alter this antiviral pathway
response and be as nontoxic as possible. We're grateful to so many of our
members who helped us reach our halfway goal. Many of them are listed in
this edition. We also want to acknowledge the large help we got from
Bernard Kansky, who spends his free time conducting the "Marine Fund-raiser"
in which he accepts used boats (and, occasionally, a car) and resells them
for research funding. We agree with Dr. Daniel Carrigan, who recently said,
"We're very excited about this work!"