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Increased prevalence of HHV-6 U94/REP antibodies discovered in MS patients

Investigators from Italy and Tunisia have reported a significantly increased prevalence of HHV-6 U94/REP antibodies among their cohort of multiple sclerosis patients.   The HHV-6 U94/REP protein is associated with latency.  The authors speculate that in MS there is an impairment of cellular immune response that may lead to the reactivation of HHV-6 latent infection. HHV-6 U94/REP antibodies were discovered in 51.5% of  60 patients with MS compared to 28.6% of 63 healthy controls.  Mean titer values were also significantly elevated in MS patients compared to controls (1:242 vs. 1:110; p=.0005).  READ MORE

HDP-CDV (CMX001) found to be highly effective against HHV-6 in-vitro

Although studies have shown varying degrees of effectiveness for the current antiviral agents used to treat HHV-6 in the clinical setting (ganciclovir, foscarnet, and cidofovir), these molecules have inherent limitations including side effects and prospective antiviral resistance.  Pascale Bonnafous and Henri Agut from Paris have reported that HDP-CDV (licensed to Chimerix and renamed CMX001) displays significantly enhanced antiviral efficacy against both HHV-6A and HHV-6B in vitro.  HDP-CDV (CMX001) had a 700 to 1200X higher EC50 than cidofovir. Its enhanced antiviral activity is due to more efficient cellular uptake of drug due to the lipid conjugate, allowing cidofovir to enter the cell very efficiently. The authors suggest that CMX001 should be considered for treatment of HHV-6 infection, even in cases of cidofovir resistance. READ MORE

New HHV-6 species-specific serological assay developed

Peter Burbelo from the National Institute of Health has developed a novel HHV-6 serological assay that can differentiate between HHV-6A and HHV-6B.   Burbelo's group utilizes the luciferase immunopreciptiation systems (LIPS) assay for detection, which appears to have great potential for identifying antibodies to pathogens (such as HHV-6) that are difficult to detect in the serum after the acute phase.  READ MORE

High rate of active HHV-6 detected among patients with cardiac disease

A group from Italy has detected an unusually high rate of active HHV-6 infection among hospital patients with cardiac disease. The group reports 18.6% (13/70) of subjects with cardiac disease had detectable HHV-6 viremia, a number markedly elevated above the only 2% of healthy subjects found to have viremia using the same assay.  HHV-8 viremia, on the contrary, was not detected in any patient samples. The mean viral load measured among cardiac patients in this cohort was low (104 copies/mL plasma), affirming previous reports that indicate a difficulty to ascertain the extent of low-level active HHV-6 infection in patients with cardiac conditions without biopsy or use of a highly sensitive assay.  READ MORE

The HHV-6 Foundation is on the Move!

It has been a pleasure speaking with the many investigators and physicians who have stopped by the HHV-6 Foundation's exhibit booth during several international conferences in 2012, including:  AAN, IDWeek, and AES (photo).  We plan to continue raising awareness and promoting research on HHV-6 by attending multiple conferences in 2013 as well.  Best wishes to the many groups who are both continuing and beginning important research projects on HHV-6 in the new year!