There is no validated or standardized test for XMRV. Most ME/CFS professionals have noted that chronic fatigue syndrome patients who get tested now run the risk of getting a result that will not hold up in the future and they recommend that patients not get tested quite yet.
Both Dr. Mikovits of the WPI and Dr. Vernon of the CFIDS Association are working with a Department of Health and Human Services XMRV group that will develop a standardized test. Once that test is developed it should be covered under most insurance plans.
VIPdx in Reno, Nevada is the lab to use if you feel the need to get tested now. VIP Dx is associated with the Whittemore-Peterson Institute and has recieved their seal of approval. The lab has proved professionals worries about the dangers of early testing by completely revamping their testing protocol about two and half months in but they also appear to be sticking by the patients and are retesting those with negative results on their own dime. IPdx in Reno, Nevada Vincent Lombardi, the head of the lab, was the chief author of the XMRV paper published in Science. The following tests were available. (see below for Update)
- XAND by PCR tests for an active infection: $400
– NO LONGER AVAILABLE
- XAND1 by virus culture tests for a latent infection. (i.e. the virus is in your white blood cells but is not replicating and moving into your blood stream) $500 – NEW CULTURE TEST ON THE WAY (Price unknown)
- Both tests together: XAND2 – (PCR for XMRV active infection and virus culture for latent infection) : $650 – NO LONGER AVAILABLE
More tests will be available soon; they will include
- XAND by serology: Serological assay for XMRV IgG antibodies. Samples requiring serological testing may be banked for future testing if requested. (expected by Spring)
UPDATE: On January 14th the WPI released a press release that appeared to state that they are not doing the PCR tests until they can create a better culture test and a serology test (using antibodies). This makes sense with what we’ve heard about testing; some patients tests are sailing right through while others are taking months to get their results. These long waits may be occurring for those getting borderline results thus requiring VIPDx to test them multiple times. VIP Dx completely shut down their XMRV testing for over a month.
New XMRV Test by VIPDx (Feb 8th) – VIPDx – is now (almost) open for business. As we suspected the PCR test is out and a new culture test will be available on Feb 11th. Prices have not been posted yet but are expected to be significantly lower. In her last lecture Dr. Mikovits stated that everyone who tested negative in the first round of tests will be retested using the new test using samples VIPDx stored and notified of the results. A serology (antibodies test) is expected in the summer. Dr. Mikovits noted several instances of patients who were negative for XMRV with the PCR test who tested positive using antibody tests.
Payment – Fees are due at the time of service. VIP Dx states they will continue to provide patients with a complete statement with all ICD and CPT codes so that they can seek reimbursement from their own insurance company.
Medicare – VIP Dx will bill Medicare as long as the patient provides a valid copy of their Medicare card and any supplemental insurance and the patient signs the ABN (Advanced Beneficiary Notice) located on the reverse side of the test requisition. Medicare patients will be responsible for any fees not covered by Medicare and supplemental insurance.
- VIP Dx
5625 Fox Avenue, Suite 369, Reno, Nevada 89506
Phone: (775) 351 – 1890 / Fax: (775) 682 -8517 / Email: firstname.lastname@example.org / VIPdx website
Several institutions including the DHHS XMRV working group, WPI/National Cancer Institute, the Singh/ARUP group and Abbot Pharmaceuticals are working on, and reportedly making progress on an antibody test and more definitive PCR tests.