Published on Dec 2, 2013
In this presentation Dr John Chia, an infectious disease specialist and an expert in enterovirus infections and chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), talks about his research on enteroviruses in ME/CFS, and describes the treatments he uses for his ME/CFS patients.
Click on the timecodes below to go directly to that part of the video.
➤ Dr Chia details the symptoms of acute enteroviral infections (timecode 5:12).
➤ Dr Chia explains how chronic enteroviral infections can be diagnosed (timecode 10:00).
➤ Dr Chia talks about the enteroviral RNA that was found in the heart, muscles, hypothalamus and brainstem of one ME/CFS patient who was autopsied after her death (timecode 12:30).
➤ Dr Chia says he developed a technique for detecting enteroviruses in ME/CFS patients, which involves taking a stomach biopsy in the terminal ileum. Chia found enteroviral VP1 protein and enteroviral RNA in ME/CFS patient stomach biopsies, with 82% of ME/CFS patient biopsies being positive for enteroviral VP1 protein, compared to only 20% of healthy controls (timecode 16:00).
➤ Dr Chia also discusses the treatment protocols he uses for his ME/CFS patients. These treatment protocols include intravenous interferon treatment (timecode 24:34), which he says he does not use that much these days, due to high cost, side effects and toxicity, and the immunomodulator oxymatrine, which is one of the mainstays of Dr Chia's ME/CFS treatment (timecode 31:25).
➤ Dr Chia explains that he found a shift of the immune system from the Th2 mode towards Th1 mode in the cytokine profiles of all the ME/CFS patients who responded well to oxymatrine, but that this shift to Th1 was not found in the patients who did not improve on oxymatrine. Th1 is the immune mode needed to fight viral and intracellular infections.
These cytokine findings show that a shift from Th2 to Th1 mode is linked to the symptomatic improvements obtained from oxymatrine, and the occurrence of this shift suggests that the improvement in ME/CFS symptoms is achieved as a result of the immune system fighting off the viral infection (timecode 37:02).
➤ Stomach biopsies from ME/CFS patients taken before and after oxymatrine treatment also corroborate the idea that the symptomatic improvements arise from the immune system fighting off the viral infection: Dr Chia found a reduced presence of enterovirus in the stomach biopsies taken after the oxymatrine treatment, compared to those taken before, indicating that vial loads in the patient are being reduced by the oxymatrine treatment (timecode 41:25).
➤ Dr Chia talks about the double stranded RNA (dsRNA) infections that exist alongside the regular enterovirus infections in ME/CFS patients, and how these dsRNA infections can multiply using a viral enzyme (timecode 42:36).
(Note that these dsRNA infections are an offshoot of the original enterovirus caught by a patient: these dsRNA infections become in effect a second infection in the patient. These dsRNA enteroviruses are also known as: non-cytopathic enteroviruses, non-cytolytic enteroviruses, or defective enteroviruses.)
➤ Dr Chia talks about the paradox of why there is a persistent enterovirus infection in ME/CFS patients, yet there are so many neutralizing antibodies in the blood that would normally be expected to clear the infection.
Dr Chia states that this paradox is explained by the fact that dsRNA enteroviral infection hides inside human cells, and so this dsRNA infection cannot be touched by the neutralizing antibodies that would normally wipe out a virus infection.
Chia says that the body makes interferons which fight the dsRNA enteroviral infection in the cells (and drugs such as Ampligen can increase interferon production and thereby ramp up this fight), but this dsRNA replicates faster than the body's natural interferon production is able to wipe it out, so the ME/CFS patient is losing the fight against the virus and its dsRNA that hides away inside cells.
Dr Chia says, however, that there may be ways to interrupt the dsRNA replication, and that in his option, ME/CFS will in the future become be a treatable disease (timecode 43:43).
This presentation by Dr John Chia was given at the Invest in ME International ME/CFS Conference, London 2010. The full DVD of this conference is available here:
The Invest in ME International ME/CFS Conference DVDs are excellent, and I usually buy them every year.
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