Study Finds No Link Between XMRV Virus, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Researchers say patients should 'reconsider' taking antiretrovirals

THURSDAY, May 12 (HealthDay News) -- A new study shows that a retrovirus called XMRV is not present in the blood of people with chronic fatigue syndrome, a finding that contradicts previous research that linked XMRV to the condition.

University of Utah School of Medicine researchers analyzed blood samples from chronic fatigue syndrome patients and found no evidence of XMRV (xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus).

The new study findings were published online May 4 in the Journal of Virology.

The findings of a previous study, published in 2009 in the journal Science, led some chronic fatigue patients to take antiretroviral drugs in an effort to ease their debilitating symptoms.

But this new research suggests that the use of antiretroviral drugs by chronic fatigue syndrome patients is not appropriate and potentially dangerous, study leader Dr. Ila R. Singh, an associate professor of pathology, said in a university news release.

"Our investigation found no trace of XMRV in any of the blood samples taken from patients we obtained ourselves, or from patients previously tested in the 2009 Science study," Singh said. "Because of our findings, we believe chronic fatigue syndrome patients should reconsider the merit of taking antiretroviral agents to alleviate their symptoms."

Even though she and her colleagues found no evidence of a link between XMRV and chronic fatigue syndrome, Singh said there is enough data to support further research into whether other infectious agents are associated with the condition.

"These research efforts must continue. Chronic fatigue syndrome is a devastating disease for which a cure needs to be found," Singh said.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about chronic fatigue syndrome.

Robert Preidt SOURCE: University of Utah, news release, May 4, 2011

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