Inherited chromosomally integrated human herpesvirus 6 (iciHHV-6) in DecodeME

Principal applicant: Professor Ruth Jarrett, University of Glasgow

Univeristy Of Glasgow Logo

Summary - REQ001

Human herpesvirus 6A (HHV-6A) and 6B (HHV-6B) are two, closely related viruses that infect humans. We often refer to them collectively as HHV-6. These viruses have a unique ability to become a part of the host's DNA, specifically in a part called telomeres. In a small proportion of people, this integration into DNA is present in the germline and the virus is passed down from parents to their children. This is known as inherited chromosomally integrated HHV-6 (iciHHV-6). In the UK overall, about 1.4% of people have iciHHV-6 and in Ireland and Scotland this proportion increases to around 3%.

Recent lab data suggest HHV-6 reactivation might trigger ME/CFS, but larger studies are required to confirm the association with HHV-6 and iciHHV-6, the inherited form of the virus.

This project will test how common iciHHV-6 is among a sub-set of DecodeME volunteers (~4,500). The study also aims to see if there's a difference in iciHHV-6 frequency between ME/CFS patients who initially had symptoms suggesting an infectious disease and those who didn't.

Potential patient benefit

This study could help understand if there's a link between iciHHV-6 and ME/CFS, especially in cases where symptoms started after an illness suggesting an infectious disease. By investigating the potential link between iciHHV-6 and ME/CFS, patients could gain a better understanding of the underlying causes of their condition. This knowledge could potentially lead to more accurate diagnosis and treatment strategies tailored to individual patients.

Access required

Data and samples.

Study duration

Completion of analysis is planned for the end of September 2024.

Find out more


A partnership between

Action for ME logo
Forward ME Logo
UKRI MRC Human Genetics Unit logo
National Institute for health research