The science of this paper is fine. Their experiments are fine. And, there is clearly a bias for the presence of XMLV in CFS patients.
BUT, this story doesnt make sense.
This normally ‘harmless’ virus is more prevalent in certain areas of the world (Africa) than in others (US), and is ‘enriched’ in sick populations where its not normally so prevalent (US HIV).
Similarly, XMRV was not found in 589 prostate cancer biopsies in Germany. None. Zero. In 589 biopsies, as opposed to the 233 in the XMRV+ paper I wrote about earlier.
It could be that XMRV is a US bug, like HHV8 is an African bug. Bugs that just tag along for the ride, and take advantage of immunocompromised people when the opportunity presents itself.
Connecting a disease to a virus takes a lot more than what XMRV proponents have now.
November 16, 2009 (email to interested party)–
If CFS is caused by XMRV, it looks more like Avian flu. Groups of people are infected, but those people cannot transmit to other people. But that would mean every CFS ‘outbreak’ was caused by an independent zoonotic event (lets say food contaminated by a mouse nibbling on it), and apparently these researchers think its all the ‘same’ virus (HIV-1 M is not HIV-1 N is not HIV-2).
*shrug* It makes no sense, at this point. If I were them, I would have a cattle call for healthy people and characterize as many healthy (non-CFS) patients as I could. Then I would kindly ask someone in Germany to do the same thing, because it appears XMRV could be a regional/American thing (German scientists found no association between XMRV and prostate cancer, and they used more patients than current US studies).
XMRV or MLV sequences were not amplified from DNA originating from CFS patients in the UK. Although we found no evidence that XMRV is associated with CFS in the UK, this may be a result of population differences between North America and Europe regarding the general prevalence of XMRV infection, and might also explain the fact that two US groups found XMRV in prostate cancer tissue, while two European studies did not.
Author— “We take no pleasure in finding colleagues wrong or dashing the hopes of patients, but it’s imperative the truth gets out.”