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HHV-6A (but not HHV-6B) linked to increased risk of multiple sclerosis

Karolinska Institute researchers developed a novel serological assay to determine that individuals with antibodies to HHV-6A early proteins are more likely to develop MS. HHV-6A antibodies were the highest in the presence of elevated EBV antibodies, suggesting that the two viruses could jointly contribute to the development of MS.

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New study details devastating impact of HHV-6 encephalitis

Investigators in Japan studied 145 patients who developed HHV-6 encephalitis. At 100 days after transplantation, the overall survival rate was just 58.3%, compared with 80.5% for patients who did not develop encephalitis. High-dose antiviral therapy was shown to mitigate high mortality rates in these patients.

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Latent HHV-6A may impair myelin repair in multiple sclerosis

A group at University of Rochester demonstrated that the HHV-6A latency gene, U94, inhibits migration of cells involved in myelin repair. Inefficient myelin repair is associated with progression MS, and the ability of HHV-6A to impede this process suggests that it could be involved in the progression of MS, and raises questions about the virus’s role in other chronic demyelinating diseases.