Science asks XMRV authors to retract paper

1 Jun

XMRV (Xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus) has been “linked” to a number of conditions, from prostate cancer to autism. One of the most publicized is the purported link between XMRV and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). One of the major papers in this “link” was published in the journal Science. Well, Science has asked the authors to retract the paper.

Prometheus over at A Photon in the Darkness discusses this in detail in Science asks XMRV authors to retract paper. Of particular interest are the studies showing how XMRV can be falsely detected if there is contamination. Rather reminiscent of work on measles virus and autism of years gone past.

3 Responses to “Science asks XMRV authors to retract paper”

  1. passionlessDrone June 8, 2011 at 17:02 #

    Hello friends –

    I ran into this abstract the other day:

    which may be of interest to some.

    – pD

  2. Prometheus June 8, 2011 at 18:53 #

    This is a meeting abstract in which the authors report finding gag (group-specific antigen) sequences in the blood of CFS patients (as well as a few of the controls). They also report that they were able to transfer this gag sequence to white blood cells of “negative” subjects using the plasma from “positive” subjects.

    It is also significant to note that the authors found that their gag sequences were more similar to MLV and not at all similar to the XMRV found by Dr. Mikovits’ group. The authors mention that their gag sequences were similar to those found in Lo et al (2010) – this is the FDA/NIH study group.

    While it is interesting that Lo et al found a “genetically diverse group of MLV-related viruses” in contrast to the genetically nearly-identical group of XMRV’s found by the Mikovits group. Since the MLV’s found by Lo et al and Hanson et al can be readily distinguished from the XMRV’s found by the Mikovits group, these studies further refute the findings by Mikovits and her collaborators.

    Whether Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is caused by a murine retrovirus or if the manifestations of CFS make its sufferers more susceptible to murine retroviruses cannot be determined from any of these studies. In fact, taken as a group, the studies on murine retroviruses and CFS fail to show a consistent result. What they have shown, however, is that the findings by Mikovits and her collaborators cannot be replicated and should be withdrawn.

    One further “take-home lesson” is about “alternative” practitioners who leap upon a “bleeding-edge” research result because it fits their particular (and peculiar) Weltanschauung. Those practitioners who were advocating (and possibly administering) anti-retroviral agents to children with autism in the mistaken (and completely unsupported) belief that this was “The Cause” (or even a cause) of autism were horribly misguided and could have (and may have) caused serious injury to children. Parents, avoid these people like the plague!


  3. Melissa Timmins August 29, 2011 at 18:09 #

    I found this article through and I wanted to say thanks for printing this article. We need more people to stand up for science rather than just voodoo and deeply held belief in tis community. Thank you very much.

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