Stealth Virus Linked to Monkey Virus
©1995 Daniel H. Fylstra. CFS-WIRE
A virus isolated from a patient diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) has been linked through DNA sequencing to a virus which originated from African green monkeys, according to an article appearing in the July issue of the peer-reviewed Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Virology, by Dr. W. John Martin and his colleagues at the University of Southern California School of Medicine. The results could be significant because kidney cells of African green monkeys have been used for years in the production of polio and other live virus vaccines.
The virus Dr. Martin is studying belongs to a family of novel viruses which he has called "stealth viruses," because they are not detected by the body's cellular defense mechanisms and appear to lack the antigens which normally evoke an inflammatory response from the immune system.
In earlier work reported in the American Journal of Pathology, Dr. Martin found evidence that stealth viruses had DNA sequences in common with the human cytomegalovirus (HCMV). But the newly published paper reports a much closer DNA match to the simian cytomegalovirus (SCMV), which infects the specific type of African green monkey used in vaccine production.
Dr. Martin's paper also notes that in 1973, a novel virus known as the "Colburn strain" was isolated from a brain biopsy of a neurologically ill human child, which also showed a close match to the SCMV. Although it was studied in several papers in the 1970s, it was not linked to other cases of human disease until now.
Information on stealth viruses, including the complete text of the newly published paper, a nontechnical summary of the results, images of stealth virus infected cells, and Dr. Martin's other recent papers can be found at Center for Complex Infectious Disease website.
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