Tribune's health reporter Trine Tsouderos:
12:00 Trine Tsouderos: Hello everybody! Thank you for coming to this chat. We're extremely lucky to have Dr. Vincent Racaniello here to answer questions about all things viruses. He's a true virus guru, a professor at Columbia, the co-author of the classic Principles of Virology, author of the amazing Virology Blog and co-host of several podcasts, including my favorite, This Week in Virology. He has an extraordinary ability to explain complicated topics in a clear way. Okay, so let's talk about viruses!
12:00 Comment From Sue
I read an article last week that ALS could be a retro-virus. What do you think?
12:01 Vincent Racaniello: I wrote about that paper on virology.ws. The paper found reverse transcriptase protein, a retroviral enzyme, in the brains of patients with ALS, but not in the brains of patients who died of other causes. The finding is very interesting but needs to be followed up. At the moment we can't conclude that any retrovirus causes ALS.
12:30 Comment From Knocked out
and what are the new sequences from wpi saying?
12:30 Trine Tsouderos: I don't know. I think a lot of folks will take a look.
12:31 Vincent Racaniello: I'll have a look at them as soon as this chat ends. I'll take the new sequences and align them with the already published XMRV sequences. That will tell us if they are significantly different.
12:42 Comment From Kassy
Dr. Racaniello, Ms. Tsouderos, thanks for this live chat. My child's serology turned up antibodies to MLVs. Does the presence of antibodies indicate a reaction to a pathogen?
12:44 Vincent Racaniello: The presence of antibodies to a virus could indicate an infection with a virus, or could simply indicate cross-reacting antibodies, that is, antibodies to another protein that cross react with the viral protein. Distinguishing between the two requires that other clinical assays be run.
12:51 Comment From Kate
Do you consider the Shin/Singh study to be a validation replication of the Lombardi/Mikovits study?
12:52 Vincent Racaniello: It's not a replication because it's not the exact study. But Singh used the same techniques. I understand the limitations and I agree that a broader replication study is needed. Read more>>
See also: All the following variables were changed by Dr Singh compared to the Lombardi study