Wednesday, October 21, 2009

XMRV - the Potential For Change
by cort on October 19, 2009

This discovery has the potential for being a world changing event in every way for chronic fatigue syndrome patients. If it really works out - still an if - one almost has to think in inter-galactic terms to find an appropriate analogy of how different things could be five years from now. The illumination this type of discovery could cast would prompt researchers to travel down pathways we can’t even imagine right now. One wonders if any disease has had such a dramatic turnaround as this one may be in store for....

So what could happen if this finding really works out? What can we expect if this virus is shown to cause ME/CFS (and possibly other diseases ). Why not dream a little?

Funding explodes - Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is funded like a small disorder but it’s not a small disorder. It effects about 1 million people. Studies have shown that it causes about 25% of those affected to go on disability. It costs families about $20,000 a year. It costs the nation about $20 billion dollars a year in economic losses. That’s a lot of money even for a disease.
Yet this major disease is ranked about 210th in rank of the 215 diseases and conditions in NIH funding. It receives about 3 million dollars a year from the NIH. That’s chicken feed, chump change the NIH throws to keep the beggars quiet. It’s a rounding error for AIDs funding.
It’s definitely not disease solving money - you can’t solve any disease at three millon dollars a year. Ten million dollars is still peanuts and hardly worthy of mention. Consider that asthma causes much lower economic losses than ME/CFS yet gets 250 million dollars a year in federal funding. What this means is that there’s ample, ample room for this field to grow. Given its size and scope once this disease is validated think hundreds of millions of dollars A YEAR in funding once the field gets built up. That’s more funding in one year than this disease has gotten in twenty.
New Faces and New Places - Expect a lot of new faces from a lot of high places as the field starts to leverage the assets of a huge cadre of pathogen researchers.
Bye- Bye Office of Women’s Research Hello NIAID - The little CFS program that’s been slowly sinking in the backwater that’s called the Office of Research Of Women’s Research (ORWH) where its received no funding (that’s no funding!) gets moved back into the mighty billion dollar National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).
CDC - After wiping the egg off their face expect things to change at the CDC. It’s hard to imagine them keeping around a virologist (Dr. Reeves) who not only missed the biggest virology in several decades but publicly trashed the finding and has had little interest in anything viral in this disorder. Let’s not forget the virologists at the CDC that will probably be salivating at the chance not only to unlock the mysteries of chronic fatigue syndrome but perhaps fibromyalgia, autism, prostate cancer and other disorders. If this works out the CDC, like any institution,will want its share of the glory. Look for it to throw its ace virologists into the fray.
Ampligen - Expect Ampligen to finally be approved by the FDA either now or not long from now. If not now expect a well designed, well-funded study (finally!) to quickly show the drug works and for it to get approved shortly after that.
Treatment Studies - expect a slew of treatment studies from drug manufacturers seeking to expand the market for their products.
Another Dream to Come True - Expect Annette Whittemore’s dream - of multiple WPI’s centered around the present (but larger) WPI - to come true.
Annette Whittemore Wins the Nobel Prize - OK, so that’s unrealistic but she, her husband, Dr. Peterson, Dr. Mikovits, Dr. Lombardi and the team should win our version of the Nobel Prize (whatever that is)
Right now there’s still alot of hard work ahead and critical questions to answer and if it does happen it will take time but there’s reason to believe it could. Researchers often, at least in public, play down expectations but the WPI has not. Both in their public announcements and even more so behind the scenes they are very confident in their findings.

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