I have been invited to take part in another research study. Thought i would tell you about it.
Any thoughts anyone?
'In this study, we aim to determine the frequency of previous exposure to the varicella zoster virus (VZV), in terms of primary infection (chickenpox) and virus reactivation (shingles) in people with MS. Many people are exposed to VZV, usually in childhood. VZV causes chickenpox, which is usually a mild infectious disease. After chickenpox, the virus remains in the body, in the nervous system in an active state; but can be reactivated, causing shingles, a rash limited to one part of the skin that can be painful. Rarely the reactivation can be more widespread and the infection more serious, in particular in people whose immune system is suppressed.
The immunity to VZV is checked measuring antibodies to VZV in blood. It is estimated that at least 80% of the population has antibodies to VZV, indicating previous exposure. In MS shingles due to VZV reactivation may cause unpleasant symptoms on top of the symptoms related to the MS disease itself, and thus it is important to assass the risk of people with MS getting shingles. At present this risk is unknown.
The treatments of MS are directed at modifying the immune system and thus it is important to determine whether these treatments modify the risk of shingles, or of chickenpox in those (probably rare people) who do not have a history of exposure and/or a negative antibody titre’
'The information we get from this study will help determine the frequency of VZV exposure in people with ms. If the study shows you are not immune to VZV we may recommend VZV vaccination depending on circumstances.
Also to determine how the VZV immunity correlates with other immune responses, tests of immunity to other antigens that have been associated with ms or with immune responses against relevent viruses and bacteria will be performed. For eg, immunity to tetanus and helicobacter is thought to be protective in ms while Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) is thought to play a role in ms.
A small part of the blood we obtain will be used for getting DNA to look for a gene varient of a lymphocyte receptor (TNFR1 R92Q) that is more common in ms than the general population and gives stronger immune responses, to see if people with this gene varient also have stronger immunity to VZV. We will not test for other genes.
Final results for publication in 3 years.
Thought this may be of interest to some people on here.