The Lancet Infectious Diseases just published this letter:
Mouse viruses and human disease. Magiorkinis
Once a virus is endogenised, it is forced to follow the evolutionary rate of the host. Since XMRV is integrated in cell-lines the virus evolution is restricted to the host’s pace of evolution, and viral descendants have none or minimum sequence diversity. Thus, if a contaminated product, previously cultured in cell-lines, is administered to people then the infections would provide the evolutionary patterns reported by Hue and colleagues. If the immunological data reported by Lombardi and colleagues are correct, then we need to trace the common source for these infections to prevent possible public health concerns. Products from cell-lines should be the first candidates.
Good news, though I think his conclusion about person to person transmission is incorrect, based on the epidemiology. At least it says that a few people in the scientific community, including the editors at The Lancet, are thinking about what we need them to think about: Where did it come from? How did we get it? A big step up from: Is it there?
I am still responding to the firestorm brought on by my use of the words “entitlement” and “unsympathetic”. I am not a professional writer and the printed word lacks affect, though I’m pretty blunt in person too. Words can be taken out of context as sound bytes, as happens when one talks to reporters. I notice that there is a tendency for some people to fixate on a particular sentence or phrase. It’s scary, but all I can do is ask that everyone please take it all in the spirit it’s offered.
Two important clarifications. I did not in any way mean to imply that the government should not be on the hook for figuring it all out, or that there may not have been criminal events that took place at the CDC. I actually think it likely that crimes against humanity have been committed. Also I was not trying to minimize the neglect and abuse to which we have been subjected. Everybody knows how I feel about most doctors. All covered in many previous blogs. I was talking about how we behave and how we appear to caregivers, doctors, scientists, the media. A separate issue.
I say “we” because it happened to me. It is the interface between the physical and mental, physiological and psychological. The disease brings out the worst at times and that is a piece of what leaves us alone, whether there’s still family around or not. I’m writing about it because I found a way out, at least for the time being, and it is helping me to minimize my own suffering. A spiritual perspective and positive attitude help. Helping helps, if there’s anything at all that you can do. Now we can even explain the physiology of why that might be true with respect to a stress activated retroviral infection. I am not religious, so that isn’t where it’s coming from. Toni Bernhard wrote about it in her wonderful book How To Be Sick, and in this clear interview about suffering, and our resistance to it. Lots of people have figured it out. The Buddha said life is suffering (not exactly, but close enough). Then he outlined the way out. I’m not a Buddhist. Not even a Jewish Buddhist. I’m talking about what may work for alleviating suffering, even practically speaking, like all the things on my list of things to consider.
Many people have expressed concern for my health and I am profoundly grateful for your good wishes. I am holding up well, maintaining my usual state of poor health. It is wonderful to be useful again.