From Open Medicine Foundation.
There is a great deal of evidence that a variety of viruses can initiate ME/CFS, but it is less clear that a virus is involved in sustaining the disease. However, some patients may have a continuous problem with viruses, especially those viruses we always carry like EBV and HHV6.
These viruses are usually kept in check by the immune system. Any suppression of the immune system can cause reactivation of these viruses (e.g., shingles). It is possible (we have new supporting data on this) that the immune system is somewhat impaired in ME/CFS, which will make it difficult to keep these viruses suppressed. If we can find the cause of this disease and cure it, this virus problem should go away.
Also, there is a common misunderstanding about viral infection among some patients and even some doctors. Most viral assays used by doctors test for the presence of antibodies to viruses, not the viruses themselves. The presence of antibodies shows that the person had a viral infection in the past, but does not constitute evidence that it is still present.
A direct assay for a virus is needed in order to find out if any virus is present. The current state-of-the-art assay is a PCR test for DNA or RNA from a virus. (Serology tests are tests for antibodies, not viruses.)
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