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Funding Gap! HHV-6 & HHV-7 receive only a fraction of the funding given for other herpesvirus research

Since 2000, NIH has given nearly $1 Billion in total grant funding to study the herpesviruses EBV (HHV-4), CMV (HHV-5), and KSHV (HHV-8), compared to only $15 million to study HHV-6 & HHV-7 over the same timeframe (see graph).  An immediate, substantial, and targeted investment by NIH in Roseolovirus research is needed to establish a healthy cohort of researchers and research programs in this area.  In the absence of this investment, the underdeveloped state of Roseolovirus research will prevent Roseolovirus-related research proposals from being competitive for funding in the face of the well-developed research infrastructure already available for many other viruses of similar societal importance. READ MORE

HHV-6 encephalitis leads to very poor outcome

A new study from Kyoto University has demonstrated that stem cell transplant patients who develop HHV-6 encephalitis have a significantly poorer prognosis than those who do not develop the condition.  Only two of the eleven patients who suffered from HHV-6 encephalitis in the study survived, both with persistent short-term memory loss.  Symptoms including confusion, memory loss, and/or seizures occurred in all eleven patients who suffered from post-transplant HHV-6 encephalitis in this study. This finding further underscores the need to develop new treatment protocols to limit the development of HHV-6 encephalitis in stem cell transplant patients. READ MORE

Herpesvirus foundation established in Zambia, initiates multiple studies on HHV-6A & HHV-6B

Virologist Matthew Bates, PhD, has founded HerpeZ, a nonprofit medical research organization dedicated to promoting herpesvirus research in Zambia and across sub-Saharan Africa.  The organization has already developed important collaborations and is currently engaged in multiple research projects that will help gather data on the many patients suffering from herpesvirus infections in this region.  Studies include compiling new epidemiological data on HHV-6A and HHV-6B infections in sera collected from a broad cross section of pediatric inpatients, in sera from neonatal intensive care admissions, and in CSF samples from adult patients with a range of CNS diseases.  READ MORE

Why does HHV-6 reactivate preferentially in CBT?

A group from the University of Nantes (France) has reported new findings which may help explain the mystery behind the increased rates of HHV-6 reactivation and encephalitis observed among umbilical cord blood transplant (CBT) patients compared with those undergoing traditional transplantation. The study examines differential expression of CD46—the chief HHV-6 cell receptor—among various subsets of blood and graft sources used in transplantation.  Findings suggest that CD46 expression itself is likely not the only factor contributing to the increased rate of HHV-6 reactivation among CBT patients.  READ MORE

Bortezomib may increase risk of HHV-6 reactivation in myeloma patients

A group from the Rambam Health Care Campus in Israel has reported that the use of Bortezomib, known commercially as Velcade, may increase the risk of HHV-6 reactivation in myeloma patients undergoing stem cell transplantation.  Bortezomib is used in the treatment of multiple myeloma and mantle cell lymphoma.  Interestingly, this is not the first time that an agent used in a transplant conditioning regimen has been correlated with increased HHV-6 reactivation.  READ MORE