I am a 56 year old physician with ME/CFS/atypical MS. I have a daughter with ME/CFS/Lyme Disease. I was an emergency physician. After I got sick, I recovered enough to have a private practice. I treated brain injury with neurofeedback and HBOT. In that context, I treated patients with Lyme/CFS/ASD/PTSD/mood disorders. I am also well versed in complementary, alternative, integrative, functional medicines and bioidentical hormone replacement.
When I read the paper in Science about XMRV being highly associated with CFS, it was apparent to me as a physician and a patient that this was it. When I realized that the virus is sensitive in vitro to existing safe HIV drugs, I thought and still think that it is a miracle. In fact, I am stunned by the sudden overabundance of caution in the treating physicians. It would seem that nobody wants to try it. Despite being given the key. Never mind that we are a patient population that has been experimented on for decades.
Frankly, I didn’t see what I had to lose. We are culture positive at VIP Dx. We have tried everything to no avail. So with the assistance of a wise, compassionate friend who is an ID doc, and a smart family practitioner, I started AZT 300mg on March 4 and Isentress 400mg on March 11, both twice a day. It was my intention to wait for some sort of confirmatory data before reporting anything publicly. But watching all that isn’t happening with respect to figuring out how to help the patients, I don’t think that anything should depend on how a few patients do, especially a patient like me who may have been infected for as many as 40 years. I don’t think it is wise to wait while scientists argue about the validity of lab tests. There are too many who need help emergently. HAART is a safe existing protocol for AIDS which includes three drugs which inhibit XMRV in vitro. We even know that the three possible combinations of those drugs are each synergistic in vitro. But, the sickest will die while the scientists try to figure it out, so it seems to me that it is up to the doctors to treat with the information available. As always.
I believe that there is a rationale for treating the sickest patients now. Physicians are allowed to prescribe drugs off-label. I think they should be testing their patients, at VIP Dx, the only commercial lab right now that seems to be able to find XMRV in peripheral blood, using the methods validated in the Science paper. I would be happy to share with any physician willing to consider treating.
I certainly don’t expect that it will be as easy as taking a few pills. There is lots of downstream damage that will need to be treated. But treating all of the problems that have been identified over the years in this patient population will likely be more effective for many more patients than it has been in the past. We will finally be able to identify the commonalities and differences in the various neuroimmune cohorts. Always treat the causative agent if you can. Then modify the host environment to the best of your ability so that whatever is left functions at its highest possible level.
In my opinion, too many of our physicians have gotten caught up in their own ideas and lost track of the goal, which is to get the patients well. As a group, doctors and patients alike, we must support a willingness for the truth to come out, whatever that is. New discoveries have to be incorporated into our thinking as they occur.
I thought that it would be OK to sit back and let the dust settle. Whenever momentous discovery happens in medicine, there is a flurry of resistance from those who have been made wrong. But this is uglier than that. Now the WPI is in need of funding. Connect the dots. And the band is playing on while we go down…
I am no activist. I am politically naive. But I know the power of the internet. I know how marginalized we have been as patients. The people at the WPI are our friends. They are fighting for us, when no one has. As a community, we are often too sick to fight. So we have to let other’s slay the dragons for us. We have to support them in any way we can. Read: SEND AS MUCH MONEY TO THE WPI AS YOU CAN AFFORD. Please tell everyone you know. Pull out all the stops.
Jamie Deckoff-Jones MD
Santa Fe, NM