Nancy Klimas, MD, responded to selected questions about the XMRV virus, AIDS/HIV, and ME/CFS that were posed online by those who read the recent New York Times article “Is a Virus the Cause of Fatigue Syndrome?” See “Readers Ask: A Virus Linked to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome,” – posted online Oct 15, 2009. Note that readers may post their comments on this Q&A by scrolling to the bottom of the page.
Dr. Klimas is one of the world’s foremost ME/CFS and AIDS/HIV physician-researchers. She is a board member of the International Association for CFS/ME, director of clinical AIDS/HIV research at the Miami (FL) Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and director of the immunology department at the University of Miami School of Medicine.
In this Q&A, Dr. Klimas provided informative answers to questions about the XMRV research, ME/CFS, patient testing, antivirals, and future trials, Dr. Klimas also voiced some strong perspectives. For example:
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On the Severity of Disability with ME/CFS
• One reader objected to a comparison to HIV in the previous article simply because it is also a retrovirus, noting that most retroviruses "are nowhere near as extreme as HIV.”
• Dr. Klimas agreed he made a good point, and more study of XMRV is needed. However, as a doctor who treats both AIDS and CFS patients, she emphasized that while her HIV patients “for the most part are hale and hearty," owing to 30 years of intensive research and investment, "many of my CFS patients, on the other hand, are terribly ill and unable to work or participate in the care of their families.”
On Previous CFS Retrovirus Work in the Early 1990s
• Another reader asked if a novel retrovirus had not been discovered in CFS patients years ago by Dr. Elaine DeFreitas at the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia.
• In response, Dr. Klimas stated her opinion that Dr. DeFreitas’ reputation had been "intentionally destroyed" because it did not mesh with the theory that CFS is “psychoneurosis” – causing others to fear following up on her work.
See also a video of Dr. Klimas talking to patients from her office – taped on Oct 12 and posted by ME-CFS Community.com (http://cfsknowledgecenter.ning.com/video/klimas-on-xmrv). She explains the next steps necessary in the XMRV research, and how individuals can help it to move forward – with the suggestion that the video be reposted to ensure maximum distribution.