Are There Two Viruses Linked With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
Dr. Klimas: I really want to know more about what you think of the specific findings of Dr. DeFreitas. Do you think there are two retroviruses associated with Cfids? I know there needs to be more study, but do you have an educated guess as to how they interact and if they are causative or just epiphenomena?
For example, if this were solely hypocondriasis or conversion disorder, I would want to know so I could start therapy on it.
Dr. Klimas responds:
Elaine DeFreitas's work and that of Dr. Michael Holmes of New Zealand both involved scanning electron micrographs of viruses. Their findings look a great deal like those that were published in the recent Science article by Dr. Lombardi and colleagues, which Ms. Grady wrote about in The Times,) that found a possible link between chronic fatigue syndrome and the XMRV retrovirus. Could they be looking at the same virus? I don't really know, because I am not a laboratory virologist. But it makes good sense to me.
I remember in the early 1990s a member of our laboratory, Dr. Roberto Patarca, found evidence of production of an enzyme called reverse transcriptase in our cell cultures, more evidence of an active retroviral infection. So the key thing now is for another reputable lab to find the same thing in chronic fatigue syndrome. Then we will see what happens next.