Researchers at the Whittemore Peterson Institute in United States have discovered an infectious virus in a significant percentage of people with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. The virus, known as Xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus (XMRV) is a retrovirus, which means it inserts its DNA right into your cell’s genetic makeup. Once infected, the virus remains permanently in the body and creates an immune deficiency that can leave people vulnerable to a wide range of diseases.
Although XMRV doesn’t appear to replicate as quickly as HIV does, scientists are still unsure how XMRV is transmitted. The infection was found in patients’ blood samples, which raises the possibility that it could be transmitted through blood or bodily fluids.
Researchers are also unsure if the XMRV infection led to a weakened immune system contributing to the disease, or if the disease impacted the immune system and enabled the virus to become established.
There are hopes that the latest findings could lead to new treatments, but there are still more questions than answers and a significant amount of research lies ahead. Since the possible link between XMRV and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome was first identified in 2009, the subject has been controversial, and the link itself remains highly contested by other researchers.
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