TWiV 81: Be a virus, see the world

9 May 2010

Hosts: Vincent Racaniello and Rich Condit

On episode #81 of the podcast This Week in Virology, Vincent and Rich answer listener questions on viruses and gluten allergy, RNA silencing, influenza virus, herpes simplex virus, HIV/AIDS, chronic fatigue syndrome, manicure salons, and the koala tea of Marseilles.

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Links for this episode:

Weekly Science Picks

Rich Google Chrome browser ‘speed test‘ (and how it was made)
Vincent Inside the Outbreaks by Mark Pendergrast

Send your virology questions and comments (email or mp3 file) to twiv@twiv.tv or leave voicemail at Skype: twivpodcast. You can also post articles that you would like us to discuss at microbeworld.org and tag them with twiv.

  • K. Benson

    On May 10, 2010 the CFS scientific advisory committee to the Department of Health and Human Services voted unanimously to recommend that patients diagnosed with CFS and patients with a previous diagnosis of CFS refrain from donating blood. Members of the committee include biomedical and behavioral researchers, clinicians, and educators who are CFS experts.

    A number of issues were raised: cyclical nature of infectious disease; association between CFS and several cancer causing viruses in addition to XMRV; low blood volume of CFS patients and the need to err on the side of caution.

    The vote followed a presentation by Dr. Jerry Holmberg of the HHS Blood Safety Committee. All agreed that further data and standardization is warranted.

    Although organ donation was not addressed, the need for information on viral reservoirs may also become an issue.

  • http://www.virology.ws profvrr

    A wise decision. Do we know what fraction of the US blood supply has
    been provided by CFS patients?

  • K. Benson

    The short answer is no.

    This is partly because most donation centers do not ask about CFS or a history of CFS they only ask, “Are you feeling well today” which committee members pointed out is vague and subjective.

    Another reason may be that many biomedical and behavioral researchers believe CFS is an umbrella diagnosis drawing in severely ill patients with post-exertional malaise upon relatively little exertion, not relieved by rest and lasting longer than 24-hours and plain old tired people alike.

    Because only the restrictive 2003 Canadian Consensus definition, used by Lombardi et al, requires severity as well as duration as part of a differential diagnosis, epidemiological studies don’t even agree on how many CFS patients there may actually be much less who may be donating blood while in remission.

    Dr. Holmberg doesn't believe the numbers are significant.

  • http://www.injust10pages.com/blog/gluten_intolerance_blog Gluten Intolerance

    I don’t want to be a virus. I’m already fine with my whole world. LOL. There are now lots of virus around the world causing thousands of people died. Thanks for posting the different links of episode.