Even though XMRV has joined the choir invisible (rather than the list of human pathogens), scientists all over the world have still been publishing on it. Some of these studies were started before XMRVs demise, some were initiated to figure out how/why XMRV died, and some were done just to be on the safe side.
BUT, lots of stuff has been published recently, and some readers have asked me for an update.
1. XMRV is a lab artifact. Nature cant make it.
We already knew that XMRV was the result of a recombination event between two mouse endogenous retroviruses, called ‘Pre-XMRV-1’ and ‘Pre-XMRV-2’:
Well, crap! Yeah, it happened in the lab, this time… but could it have occurred naturally in nature? Infected people just via a common house or field mouse?
These folks looked for Pre-XMRV-1 and -2 in 48 laboratory mouse variants and 46 kinds of ‘wild’ mice. While there are wild mice that have Pre-XMRV-1, or Pre-XMRV-2, none have both. You need both to make XMRV. The only mice with both Pre-XMRVs are three kinds of lab mice: Hsd nude, NU/NU, and C57BR/cd.
XMRV is from the lab, not nature.
2. XMRV isnt infecting humans. Like, at all. Anywhere.
Fine, XMRV was created in the lab. But that doesnt mean it couldnt have escaped the lab, and entered the human population. An obvious place you could look for this kind of ‘jail-break’ would be in scientists/technicians who work with lab mice:
The title of this article is kinda a spoiler… but none of the 43 animal workers had any signs of XMRV infection. Well, thats not true. They had one person who was un-reproducibly positive via PCR, who also was not positive via immunoblot. But functionally, no one was ‘XMRV positive’.
So the XMRV–>humans event might not have happened via direct contact in the lab. Maybe it was in VACCINES or some other governmental mind-control apparatus. We should look in the general population:
Development and application of a high-throughput microneutralization assay: lack of xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus and/or murine leukemia virus detection in blood donors.
They looked at blood donors from the Reno/Tahoe area (heh/heh) for antibodies capable of neutralizing XMRV. 6.5% could, kinda-ish, but when that sera was further investigated, none of the neutralization was XMRV specific, nor was there any evidence of XMRV genome.
Maybe it is inappropriate to look for XMRV in healthy blood donors. Maybe you only ‘see’ XMRV when a patients immune system is compromised, like in HIV/AIDS:
Prevalence of XMRV Nucleic Acid and Antibody in HIV-1-Infected Men and in Men at Risk for HIV-1 Infection.
Yet again, XMRV is not found in immunocompromised individuals, like HIV/AIDS patients, even in the absence of anti-retrovirals.
3. XMRV doesnt even want anything to do with primates. Certainly not humans.
While HIV-1 is (relatively) ‘new’ to humans, retroviruses are not ‘new’ viruses. They have been around for millions and millions of years. That means that via The Red Queen, we have evolved all kinds of defenses against retroviruses, like epigenetics, tetherin, Trim5, APOBEC, etc.
XMRV isnt in the human population, in part, because XMRV does not know how to deal with primate APOBEC.
So, there it is. A current update on the science of XMRV. It still dead.