|HHV-6 being released from a lymphocyte|
These data suggest that a person could be born with HHV-6 already present within the DNA he inherited from a parent, and that the embedded virus could at any point cause a full blown infection. While this isn’t good news for anyone, it’s especially problematic for immuno-compromised blood and organ recipients. Currently, donation programs screen blood products for infectious agents but not for gene sequences that might become reactivated at any moment.
Yan Huang, Alberto Hidalgo-Bravo, Enjie Zhang, Victoria E. Cotton, Aaron Mendez-Bermudez, Gunjan Wig, Zahara Medina-Calzada, Rita Neumann, Alec J. Jeffreys1, Bruce Winney2, James F. Wilson3, Duncan A. Clark, Martin J. Dyer, & Nicola J. Royle (2013). Human telomeres that carry an integrated copy of human herpesvirus 6 are often short and unstable, facilitating release of the viral genome from the chromosome Nucleic Acids Research DOI: 10.1093/nar/gkt840.