Doctors, meet xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus.
According to the Wall Street Journal:
Researchers have linked an infectious virus known to cause cancer in animals to chronic-fatigue syndrome, a major discovery for sufferers of the condition and one that concerned scientists for its potential public-health implications ...The full article is here.
Like HIV, XMRV is a retrovirus, meaning once someone is infected, the virus permanently remains in the body; either a person's immune system keeps it under control or drugs are needed to treat it. The virus creates an underlying immune deficiency, which might make people vulnerable to a range of diseases, said Judy Mikovits of the Whittemore Peterson Institute and one of the lead authors on the paper.
Oh, sorry, that link takes you to a "subscriber content preview page," doesn't it. If you don't feel like plunking down money to read the article, there are others in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and many more.
I couldn't resist quoting the Wall Street Journal, though. Why? Because a little over a decade ago they printed an opinion piece in which they argued that people with this disease have a "deranged sense of victimization." That they're in it for the oh-so-lucrative disability payments.
Perhaps the WSJ will print a long-overdue retraction. I'll be right over here, holding my breath, waiting for that to happen.
Snark aside, this really is big news. The findings could lead to better treatment. Or, you know, any treatment. They could also lead to an incredibly useful diagnostic tool (great news not only for people with ME/CFS, but also those who have other neuro-immune diseases, like Lyme, which are sometimes misdiagnosed as ME/CFS).
It doesn't mean these researchers will discover a cure tomorrow. It doesn't mean the bigotry will disappear overnight. Still, it feels like there's something new in the air. Something like progress. Something like hope.