Dr. Joseph Brewer on HHV-6 Viral Infections | ProHealth Fibromyalgia, ME/CFS and Lyme Disease Forums

Dr. Joseph Brewer on HHV-6 Viral Infections

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Dr. Brewer is another doc who has studied HHV-6 and believes there is an association between CFIDS/FMS and this Herpes-Family Virus. There is an older book, "The Virus Within," which is an interesting read for those looking for more info on this virus. This article is four years and Dr. Brewer has refined his protocol since then.

My treatment plan was very close to the Brewer Protocol in which he uses antivirals, transfer factors, antibiotics, and Heparin. Even though I am flaring following my colonoscopy, I have been making steady progress slowy. Right now, I am taking both Doxy and Famvir to destroy any pathogens which may be trying to take over due to my weakened state. Normally, just pulsing the transfer factors for a couple of days every six weeks keeps me going.

Love, Mikie

Scientific Literature in Review: Chronic Active Human Herpesvirus-6 (HHV-6) Infection: A New Disease Paradigm by Joseph H. Brewer, M.D.
by Deborah Cooper


(Editor’s Note: Occasionally we will review scientific literature that has strong significance for CFS and FM and related disorders. Many doctors and leading researchers into the causes of chronic immune disorders such as CFS and FM draw a strong correlation between HHV-6 infection and the development of these diseases. Joseph Brewer, MD has written an extensive report on the role of HHV-6 in immune disorders and provides in-depth analysis of current possibilities for the diagnosis and treatment of HHV-6 infection. What follows is a review of his main findings. To read the full text of Dr. Brewer’s paper visit: www.plazamedicine.com/hhv6/hhv6_1.html)

According to Joseph Brewer, M.D., CFS is strongly associated with HHV-6. To a slightly lesser degree FM is also linked to the virus. In his paper, “Chronic Active Human Herpesvirus-6 (HHV-6) Infection: A New Disease Paradigm,” Brewer provides a thorough exploration of HHV-6 infection, and includes observations from his several years of scientific study of the virus and the diseases it may preempt.

Dr. Brewer is part of a group of doctors who have studied HHV-6 intensively for the past two years. He writes in the introduction to the paper, that: “Based on the studies and observations in our own patient population…it is our belief that this virus can establish a chronic active infection in certain patient populations and lead to chronic diseases via several different postulated mechanisms.”

HHV-6: types of triggers

Brewer proposes several reasons why HHV-6 leads to chronic immune dysfunction. First, he points to a ‘triggering event’ where the latent HHV-6 virus is reactivated in the body. “The immune dysfunction presumably relates to cell mediated immunity (CMI) and natural killer (NK) cell dysfunction.” In this case, he writes, NK function is crucial to controlling the spread of the virus, because with loss of NK function may then lead to active HHV-6 infection.

Brewer’s research indicates several primary triggers for chronic immune dysfunction, arising from the HHV-6 virus. These are: CMI, genetic predisposition, active HHV-6 infection, chronically active HHV-6 infection, immune cell tropism, HHV-6 infection of the endothelial cells and neurotropism

Diagnosis of HHV-6 virus

Although testing for latent HHV-6 infection is considered to be straightforward and accurate the same cannot be said for detecting active HHV-6 infection. Brewer reviews the nuances of several currently available tests and concludes that the most effective one is the rapid culture test. ‘This test…is the best current assay system for active infection and active/productive infection is of paramount importance in defining this disease process as well as clinical diagnosis.”

A rapid viral culture test, as described by Brewer, is one where the patient’s leukocytes are co-cultured with fibroblasts. This fibroblast layer is stained so that early active infection will show up. This method is sensitive in the range of 80-85% with specificity of nearly 100%. However, this test does not distinguish between HHV-6 variant A and variant B, and no such test is commercially available at the present time.

Treatment Options:

a) Anti-viral drug therapy

Brewer discusses the efficacy of several treatment options. The ‘tried and tested’ anti-viral therapy is thoroughly explored with a discussion of the different medications available such as acyclovir (Zovirax), ganciclovir (Cytovene) and foscarnet (Foscavir), among others.

b) Immune modulation

Brewer describes immune modulation, as “another attractive avenue for consideration.” He writes that interferon may provide one kind of mechanism for this kind of regulation. Interferon has anti-viral properties and could affect HHV-6. However, statistically significant studies have yet to be done in this area so that, in future, “defining the effect of interferon on HHV-6 will be an important area of research.”

c) Anti-coagulants:

Brewer reports that one study with heparin did produce symptom improvement in CFS patients. Several other studies showed that heparin blocked the activity of the HHV-6 virus by preventing it from attaching to cell surfaces. Another possibility Brewer proposes involves “blocking viral activation (antiviral agents or immune modulation such as TF) combined with anticoagulants (heparin or coumadin).” d) Transfer factor therapy

According to Brewer, transfer factor (TF) “has consistently shown efficacy in the prevention and treatment of viral infections. Studies reporting efficacy of specific TF have been reported with HSV 1 and 2 VZV, EBV, and CMV. TF has proven to be extremely safe with virtually no significant adverse effects.”

Brewer goes on to describe studies he has conducted in patients with CFS and chronic active HHV-6 infection using a TF specific for HHV-6. He reports seeing “significant symptom improvement, consistently negative HHV-6 blood cultures and marked improvement in NK function.”

Overall, Brewer regards transfer factor therapy as having substantial promise for the treatment of HHV-6 related disorders.



Board is moving fast. Want to be sure everyone has a chance to read this. HHV-6 may even be worse for us than the EBV or CMV in terms of making us feel so sick.

Love, Mikie
I remember a post not too long ago about HHV 6-A being a possible culprit, but that a reliable test wouldn't be available untill this summer sometime. Anyone have any news on that?


I have heard that the antiviral drugs are not very effective against it. When I switched from the Famvir to the transfer factors, I had a completely different Herx the first few times. I know that the TF's killed something which was not being killed off by the Famvir. I just don't know for sure what it was. The TF 200 targets both strains of HHV-6.

If anyone knows of such a test or a drug which is effective against it, please let us know. Thanks.

Love, Mikie


New Member
HHV-6 is also found in spianl fluid of MS patients and there is a lot of research being done especially here in Alberta. MMMM know wonder these illness's mimic each other.


HHV-6 infection rates are very high. I've read that it is the HHV-6 which makes them feel so sick and not the HIV. I still say we are walking Petri dishes.

Love, Mikie


New Member
but so far the organization that was working on it hasn't announced it so far as I can find it.

I believe it was this site: http://www.hhv-6foundation.org - but not sure.

They DO have info posted as to HHV6 and CFIDS and as to the drugs usually used, plus tests.

hope this helps,


I'll go check it out. I think HHV-6 is often overlooked as one of the culprits which can wreak havoc in our bodies.

Love, Mikie