By Amy Dockser Marcus, The Wall Street Journal, WSJ.com:
The controversy over whether XMRV is associated with chronic fatigue syndrome or other diseases continues, but a task force set up by a group that collects most of the nation’s blood supply is already looking ahead.
In a report issued last week, the AABB Interorganizational Task Force — comprised of blood banks, government agencies, non-profits and scientists and charged with examining the possible threat to the blood supply — points out that the scientific data on XMRV are “incomplete and conflicting” and that it’s still not known if blood recipients need to be worried.
One of the key challenges, the report says, is trying to figure out how the infection might work in blood donors who turn out to be asymptomatic carriers of XMRV. The report notes that patients infected with hepatitis C may not display any symptoms for decades, but can then go on to develop cancer or other serious diseases. “If XMRV/MLV is pathogenic, a similar long latency is conceivable,” the report states.
The most pressing issue is to identify which blood donors are infected with XMRV and then trace their previous donations to the recipients to see if they are also infected with the virus.
Some studies are already being planned to try to do just that, says Susan L. Stramer, executive scientific officer at the American Red Cross and a member of the AABB XMRV task force that issued the report.
Stramer tells the Health Blog that the Red Cross is trying to get a handle on ... Read more>>