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Cytomegalovirus: The Worst Herpesvirus (denovo.substack.com)
13 points by beefman 40 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 11 comments



I remember when the blood nurses found out I was cytomegalovirus free (rare, most people are infected at birth). I suddenly became a very valuable donor- my blood could be given to immunocompromised children.

This was around the same time I was doing research into viruses. Herpesvirus is... well, it's an entire world of amazing viruses that are really scary.


The whole post is hyperbolic.

> Actionable advice

> The only way to prevent CMV infection is to avoid exposure to the bodily fluids of others.

How is this actionable?

> Overall, CMV-positive individuals have an increased all-cause mortality. Unadjusted, the effect seems enormous, but this is largely due to the fact that older people are more likely to be CMV-positive. Even after adjusting for this and other confounders, the estimated effect is still a 1.19-fold increase in all-cause mortality (35), or a loss of approximately 1.1 years of life expectancy in the study population of adults of 25 years and older.

Since the author notes that "human herpesvirus 5 (CMV) infects the majority of humanity" it would seem that CMV infection is just a cost of doing business (living). Without dismissing the negative impacts CMV can have (especially the birth defects), calling it "about as bad as HIV and malaria" is a crazy insane claim.


In terms of lost years of life the comparison with HIV seems pretty reasonable. Roughly 0.5% of the world population has HIV. I'm not sure how many years of life expectancy HIV costs on average around the world, but conservatively say 40 years. Therefore HIV costs the average person 0.2 years. If CMV impacts 50% of the population and costs 1.1 years, that's a world average of 0.55 years lost per person.


Limit exposure, limit risk..


Even if you accept the author's claim that CMV shaves a year off your lifespan, is a life where you don't swap fluids with other human beings a life worth living?

Human life would cease to exist if everyone did this.


Of course not but just being selective about who you do that with. And yes, it still carries a risk but it’s sortof reduced, don’t you think?


From the article:

> In the United States and other high-income countries, the overall rate of CMV infection is about 50%...

Those aren't very good odds. And given that a third of children are exposed to CMV, there's a good chance it will be a moot point by the time you're old enough to stick your tongue in someone else's mouth.

Of course, assuming you make it into adulthood CMV-free, you could remain completely chaste in an effort to avoid the horrors of this virus:

> Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a common virus that usually causes no symptoms or only mild illness.

> Most people are infected as children or as young adults, but many don’t know it because CMV usually does not cause noticeable symptoms or only mild illness in otherwise healthy people. Individuals with mild illness may have non-specific signs and symptoms, such as sore throat, fever, tiredness, and swollen glands. In otherwise healthy adults, CMV infection may sometimes cause a flu-like illness or signs and symptoms similar to mononucleosis (mono), such as extreme fatigue, fever, chills, body aches, and/or headaches that usually resolve within a few weeks.

> Once you are infected, CMV remains in your body for the rest of your life without causing symptoms. After your initial “primary” infection resolves, CMV becomes dormant or latent, like other members of the herpes family. However, if your immune system is significantly weakened, the virus can become active again (reactivate) and cause illness.


Why do you keep on insisting on chastity? How about just not be very promiscuous, have a steady partner and avoid one night stands and so on? Would that not have any effect on odds in your opinion? Im an adult with decent sexual experience, have had several steady partners in my life, one at a time, and never contacted any STDs/STIs. Of course this strategy isn’t foolproof but it helped quite a bit.

Abstinence is a choice I would never go for, STDs are not the end of life but I prefer not having them, hence my choice to be more conservative in that respect.

My best friend has genital herpes and it is quite a pain to find a partner that accepts it unless they have it as well. I would rather not deal with that.


Googling around about this, I found that Moderna has been trialing a vaccine against it:

https://investors.modernatx.com/news-releases/news-release-d...

https://investors.modernatx.com/news-releases/news-release-d...


I wonder what section 11 of this article is referring to?


Yeah me too. Given that nearly all people eventually contract the virus anyway, it seems like it would not be a valuable bioweapon. Perhaps its incredible complexity and immune-evading capabilities make it a strong contender for an engineered supervirus.




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