On behalf of the four people I know with ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome - recent research
shows that 95% of sufferers have antibodies to murine leukaemia virus-related virus (XMRV).
One should always be cautious of early research results, perhaps especially when they tell you what you want to believe, but the sample sizes and confidence levels look good.
"The study, published in the journal Science, shows that the virus, called murine leukaemia virus-related virus (XMRV), was found in 68 of 101 patients from around the US with chronic fatigue syndrome. This compared with just eight of 218 healthy "controls" drawn at random from the same parts of the US, the scientists said.
But the senior author of the study, Judy Mikovits, director of research at the Whittemore Peterson Institute in Reno, Nevada, said further blood tests have revealed that more than 95 per cent of patients with the syndrome have antibodies to the virus – indicating they have been infected with XMRV, which can lie dormant within a patient's DNA. "With those numbers, I would say, yes we've found the cause of chronic fatigue syndrome. We also have data showing that the virus attacks the human immune system," said Dr Mikovits. She is testing a further 500 blood samples gathered from chronic fatigue patients diagnosed in London. "The same percentages are holding up," she said."
When I had one friend with ME, I believed it might have a mental cause. The second friend - who was as strong a personality as you could wish for and a keen dancer - convinced me, because I saw her trying, that the disease cannot be overcome by exercise or positive thinking. The third friend, who was a doctor, made me realise that 'chronic fatigue' is an understatement. The disease can cause severe pain as well as exhaustion. The fourth made me realise just how widespread this illness is.
Now we have a cause, maybe there will eventaually be hope of a cure.