The World of Viruses

Keynote SBV 2011I was honored to present the Keynote Address at the XXII meeting of the Brazilian Virology Society on 23 October 2011. In my talk entitled The World of Viruses, given to an audience of 640 virologists, I shared my enthusiasm for these amazing microbes by discussing ten seminal virologists and ten compelling virology stories of recent years.

Before I began the presentation, I asked the audience to smile and took the photograph at left. Within a few minutes there were no empty seats in the room.

Watch the video of The World of Viruses below, or view at YouTube.

8 thoughts on “The World of Viruses”

  1. Carlitos Gonzalez

    Original study published in PLoS to a problem in B cells of patients with CFS:
    The study is double-blind, placebo, and shows that CFS patients significantly improve their clinical symptoms and immunity by removing their B on taking Ritiximab, however, when these cells regenerate, patients relapse in the disease. With the second shot of Ritiximab again patients improve significantly, which points to two possibilities:

    a) ME/CFS is an autoimmune disease and therefore improve when we suppress their immunity
    b) ME/CFS is an infectious disease, and have some type of infection in their B cells and therefore when reducing this cell group, they improve their clinical symptoms, until their B cells regenerate.

    Irsi Caixa in Spain found XMRV retrovirus sequences in EBV-infected B cells of these patients (see poster below), and also happened in Europe and the U.S. where other teams have found retroviruses in B cells of these patients.-In 2009 a study released in Science positive association of XMRV retrovirus with CFS, and in 2010, the NIH FDAy confirmed the presence of gamaretrovirus (MLV) in 87% of patients.-After the initial splash succeeded negative studies funded by the Wellcome Trust and Glaxo Smith Kline Group, who were not able to find XMRV in patients with CFS. Recent research puts all these negative studies under question because false negative results come from using common PCR reagents-see research below-Finally several studies pointed out that the XMRV was created in a laboratory as the result of contamination of a cancer cell line, and assumed that the positive studies had found contamination that is present in most of labs. Even if that was the case, the question of wether it has been transmitted to humans remains unanswered.-The FDA is very concerned at present and is making sequencing of all vaccines to see if they may be contaminated with xenotropic retrovirus that causes this leukemia in mice-see FDA press release below: Lipkin is conducting a large scale study (150 controls and 150 patients with CFS) to elucidate the association or not the retrovirus with the disease, and is awaiting the results of this study for early next year.-ME/CFS began in the 80’s, and by then, Wellcome Trust and Glaxo Smith Kline Group were already manufacturers of vaccines for hepatitis B that might potentially be contaminated with gamaretrovirus created in a lab as XMRV is supposed to be born, if the FDA came out with this conclusion, would mean the bankruptcy of these pharmaceutical companies…Need to say more? Lets keep an open mind for whatever Science brings in this respect and lets not claim that XMRV is dead, because that is still to be seen…

    PLos study:
    Poster Irsi Caixa:
    FDA press release:
    Research quiestioning XMRV negative studies:

  2. I thought about including Hilleman but didn’t have room for him in my self-imposed limit of 10 individuals. He is certainly worthy. Stay tuned for a TWiV in which we all give our lists of ten virologists, and we also share one put together by David Baltimore.

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