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Article: Four Viruses! Alter Paper Confirms Retroviral Findings in CFS

Discussion in 'Phoenix Rising Articles' started by Phoenix Rising Team, Aug 24, 2010.

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  1. SironaL

    SironaL

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    Yeah, i downloaded these slides when they where a 'hot topic'!
    This is what the slide about XMRV and MLVs said:
    ---
    Comments on the Agent Du Jour -XMRV
    The data in the Lombardi, et al Science manuscript are
    extremely strong and likely true, despite the controversy.
    Not only have they detected gag and envelope XMRV
    sequences, but they have infected prostate cell lines and
    recovered gamma retrovirus particles and have transmitted
    XMRV to rhesus macaques by the IV route and demonstrated
    infectivity
    Although blood transmission to humans has not been
    proved, it is probable
    The association with CFS is very strong, but causality not
    proved
    XMRV and related MLVs are in the donor supply with an early
    prevalence estimate of 3%‐7%.
    We (FDA & NIH) have independently confirmed the Lombardi
    group findings
    ---
    he clearly stated that FDA/NIH confirmed Lombardi and that XMRV and MLVs are in the donor blood supply with an estimated prevalence of 3-7%. As i understand this; Alter, at that time, did not make a distinction between the viruses he found and these that WPI found! My guess is that, since the same facts can be presented in many different ways, he chose/had to choose a way to put his findings into words that would be "politically correct" and not embarrass another government agency CDC.
    I have attached the Alter slides from his presentation in Zagreb. The filename is in dutch for these who would wonder :cool: translated: "power point infection risks with blood transfusion and XMRV"

    Attached Files:

  2. RustyJ

    RustyJ Contaminated Cell Line 'RustyJ'

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    This lends weight to the argument that the real difference between the Alter MLVs and XMRV is one of semantics.
  3. RustyJ

    RustyJ Contaminated Cell Line 'RustyJ'

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    Cort, I understand you have written the article from your perspective. I am not really sure of the objective. Is it to educate, inform or is it to sell the article (get it out there). You say it was a catchy title? Do you need a catchy title. Wouldn't an accurate title do the job? You could have written "One virus or four... for a more balanced presentation and to truly illustrate the dilemma.

    Again you link the title to the finding of more viruses, but isn't that the bone of contention: Are there more viruses or is it the same virus. Given that the argument is increasingly being seen as one of semantics (I refer to the Alter slides) and in the wider context of a decades-long public relations battle over the ashes of lives of CFSers, shouldn't we be extra vigilant about semantics.

    We agonise long and hard over the use of Chronic Fatigue instead of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, ME instead of CFS, etc the list is long. We are ever mindful of attempts to divide and conquer. Since the media have been thoroughly confused over the 'Is it XMRV or not?' conundrum, I see this as a critical divide and conquer issue. For you to say by way of explanation it was 'a catchy title' is not justification for its use.
  4. Otis

    Otis Señor Mumbler

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    What argument would that be? The polytropic MLVs found by Alter/Lo are not xenotropic and are therefore not XMRV. Choice of words by the authors and people's discussions of the studies may make this distinction hard to discern but from a scientific perspective this is not a sematic difference. Alter/Lo did not find XMRV and the Science paper did not identify and non-XMRV MLVs, to include those found my Alter/Lo. We now hear that WPI has found non-XMRV MLVs but that isn't published data.
  5. Cort

    Cort Phoenix Rising Founder

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    I agree with that. Alter called them different viruses in the abstract but in his paper they were called gag virus sequences. The WPI is the only one who has cultured a live virus and Alter is trying to do that now. Based on her testing Dr. Mikovits believes two of them are strains and two are actually very close but different viruses.
  6. Cort

    Cort Phoenix Rising Founder

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    He said:



    That is so close! Does he actually say there were no MLV's in the population? Can you try to pin him down one more time specifically on the MLV's.

    I think that would be an amazing finding - to go from 85% with MLV's to none - that would REALLY say something.
  7. Cort

    Cort Phoenix Rising Founder

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    Honestly I didn't expect it to be a problem....He did find 4 viruses or variants - he actually calls them variants in the paper. That was one of the shocking things about the paper to me - that we now have 4 more viruses to think about it - which, for me, is all gain. :) So I think the title fit just fine...it wasn't an attempt to obscure or downplay anything. As several people have indicated very well I don't think we know if these will be new viruses or variants or sequence differences or what......time will tell. It wasn't just a catchy title - I thought it fit the findings pretty well.
  8. Cort

    Cort Phoenix Rising Founder

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    Here's the latest from Dr. Alter on the variants - Medscape - and my comments from the XMRV Buzz page
    Maybe this lends some more support to the interpretation of Dr. Lo's statement that they didn't find MLV's in the CDC population either. That would actually fit with Dr. Monroe's statement that they could find MLV's in some prostate cancer patients but not in their CDC 'CFS' patients. Otherwise I would be surprised that Dr. Alter would say something like that given the question that was raised about primers.

    Of course, it also possible that medscape didn't fit everything Dr. Alter said into the article :)

    We have heard that the CDC is doing a study on a more severely ill CFS group.
  9. RustyJ

    RustyJ Contaminated Cell Line 'RustyJ'

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    Cort, where does she say this?
  10. cfs since 1998

    cfs since 1998 *****

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    What the heck does this mean?
  11. awol

    awol *****

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    Given that the moderator had clearly said that this discussion was to stop, I am astounded to find this comment still here several hours later. Clearly it is only people who object to Cort's reporting methods and have tried to articulate why who are supposed to shut up. Everyone else can go on misrepresenting what we have said as much as they like.

    I would wish that the moderators here could understand the difference between moderating and participating in a swarming.
  12. Mark

    Mark Acting CEO

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    4 Viruses.

    So happily the case is now I think proven and I hope those proven wrong will apologise for any aggression shown during the course of their error. This issue has been a big bone of contention and Cort has been criticised for refusing to change his title "4 viruses?" which, it was alleged, was factually incorrect.

    Sunshine cites as evidence in relation to this argument:

    ...which turns out to be a link to Dr Mikovits' video reaction to Alter's paper.

    And the extraordinary thing is - and this is really very frustrating if it weren't so stark and indisputable for all to see, right now:

    Dr. Mikovits herself says in this short clip:

    MUCH ABOUT THIS IS EXTRAORDINARY!

    Firstly, and uppermost in this argument but really not important, Dr Mikovits herself is quoted committing the same anti-WPI sexist crime as Cort, and calling them 'viruses', not once, but twice!!

    LESSON: We should transcribe the important stuff, as a priority, more often and early, and this video is a prime example because...

    Secondly, and vastly more interesting: Dr Mikovits is claiming that the additional MLV analysis locating the P-variants was precisely what they found themselves during the days after publication when 67% became (something like) 80, and then 95% !!!

    In other words, if I have it right, this work of Alter's, and his conclusions, are in reality an extremely rigorous expansion on some aspects of detail regarding further unpublished work that the WPI carried out since the Science paper publication. This is what we knew, certainly, but I don't think it had been picked up here on that the discovery of additional MLVs was what WPI found soon after publication, and I don't think WPI at that time gave any comment to the effect that they weren't XMRV. This does now become the next question: if they knew then that there were other variants that were P, why did they continue to call them XMRV? I imagine the detailed answer would be that this was a gradual process of discovery, and they found them to be P a bit later, and also they had incomplete gene sequences at that stage...but again this is what people will want to know, and will claim to be contradictory, whereas it isn't actually contradictory but the valid question always seems to be: "Why then did you not also say...?". I imagine the answer: "You didn't ask..." - perhaps that is where we are sometimes.

    I stress, it seems to be unpublished work from late 2009 referred to above, but it MAY also be that by these other tests they refer to the antibody tests et al, - and at the time soon after publication, in public statements the WPI were saying "XMRV in 85%" and then "XMRV in 95%" if I remember correctly. So...yes I think that's the meaning: when they uncoded the samples, they were able to say: right then, out of these four percentages of totals: which of these sets overlap, and what are the totals who are positive on other tests - and indeed, start exploring the detail of that.

    Similarly, they will have been able to compare patient histories, categories of patient, and their individual viral swarms, and likely they now have lots of similar knowledge. Indeed it's likely precisely that knowledge that led them to say the things they have since the Science publication.

    When Dr Alter commented that the WPI's research was much more advanced, he wasn't kidding! He was pointing out that in reality the WPI's work as a whole was more advanced than his own paper is today - back in October 2009! A year later, maybe they have continued to learn? But they have not yet published - why not? - their findings from work completed in February! Perhaps we will find out why that is in due course...perhaps soon...

    But when I read all these papers, where I differ from many scientists who say one can only go by the evidence, and that the only evidence is the contents of the published paper - well the point for me is to be aware that the scientists themselves near enough always know far more than they are letting on! If Dr Mikovits had stated her findings, she would be absolutely pilloried for running ahead of the published data: she should publish and not say unpublished evidence she's found, those are the rules, for her at least, apparentl (and they are indeed the scientific conventions it seems, although as I keep saying, those conventions look rather like the rules of a "gentleman's club" to me, and McClure and Wessely can breach such principles without criticism of course, for reasons unclear).

    So we can get a sense of what's going on from personal judgment about the individuals involved and listening carefully to what they say and don't say, and their conclusions that "run ahead of the data" and get scientists riled up - that is just them giving us a peek into stuff they know but can't yet say explicitly, which leaks out in language and confidence in assertions. And that's why many people in varying ways have "faith" in the WPI - for myself, I see these people and the more I see of them, the more I think: "I trust these people". Humans do have to make decisions like that - even scientists - and they do all the time even if they say they don't, and in the UK I know that who the WPI are, their entire make-up and setup, is guaranteed to inspire a prejudicial distrust in the UK elite.

    In many ways I would like to be able to critique and probe the WPI more. I would actually like them to release much more information, much more detail, and indeed that's a core thing the UK sceptics have complained about which is often difficult to refute. And yet at the same time, what could I criticise them for? For holding information which they don't release? For words which sometimes cause confusion amongst the illogical and those who make incorrect assumptions? For failing to clarify the mass of confusion, the vast majority of which is people's own insistence on misinterpretations? Well...I could critique all of that, but I would have to note that all the other scientists involved in this do all the same things and far worse, and that the norm in these matters is worse than the WPI in any case, so...I have no complaints. :Retro smile:

    Just occurs to me as another aside that I suspect Dr Alter and Dr Lo have likely been done a great disservice by the pressure all sides have put them under and the failure to recognise what they have achieved. I suspect Dr Alter in particular had an extremely difficult balancing act to perform, and while the study was in my view clearly suppressed in some way, we all have no way to know how vigorously he opposed that suppression - but I make no assumptions except that he appears to be a genuinely great man of our age, in view of his discoveries, and that he and the WPI seem to have a good relationship. I think we should have perhaps said: Thank You Dr Alter more loudly, and also to Dr Lo, and it's very sad if the suspicions about government and conspiracy have put doubts in our minds that are completely unfair, as seems much more likely than not to be the case.

    But anyway: so my guess is that's the answer: the WPI are a year or two ahead of the published data at present, and information has to be solidly established in all areas before the next "wild claim" can be made without attracting too excessive a storm of controversy.

    Final note (an aside really) returning to what these 4 viruses (can I say that now and can Cort remove the question mark from his article, I wonder?): If I have it right, it is most accurate to say that these Polytropic variants are MLV-related retroviruses, as is XMRV. Hopefully also correctly: none of them are MLVs but they are newly identified viruses related to the MLVs. And I do want to know: is it definitively the case that all these viruses under consideration are retroviruses, and that the noticeable change in the Alter/Lo paper and in the media reporting is the disappearance of that 'retro' when - as I understand it - they are still as 'retro' as ever. Hmm...'retro' is so 'retro' - they're all viruses so when we say it's a virus, that's true...let's just all call them viruses folk, OK?

    There's no cause to get overrexcited, after all...
  13. RustyJ

    RustyJ Contaminated Cell Line 'RustyJ'

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    Thanks Mark. I am happy with that.
  14. awol

    awol *****

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    noone ever said there was sexism involved in calling them viruses. Once again, instead of being a good objective moderator, you gleefully participate in the manipulation of what people here have said. You would be far more credible if you were not so blatantly malicious Mark.

    Second while it is true that all of these scientists are calling them "viruses" in plural, the subtlety that you are ignoring is that ALL viruses are as complex as this. We still call Hep C the Hep C virus even though it is at least as variable. Same with HIV. This list goes on and on. This is why it is misleading and wrong to refer to 4 different viruses in the title. If Cort insists on this, then from now on, whenever he talks about ANY virus, he will have to start saying viruses in plural "oh, I caught the H5N1 viruses" so and so is suffering from the Ebola viruses, etc. etc.
  15. Mark

    Mark Acting CEO

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    This was a very good post by goldiland and doesn't misrepresent anything.

    Anyone reviewing the thread can see that both Cort and v99 continued to argue this issue after my comments, which is up to Cort of course, I've made my opinion clear. Given that the argument had resumed it's understandable that goldiland made this post.

    I called for everyone to stop these arguments and take them elsewhere, but clearly Cort wanted to continue and some aspects of the discussion were a little more fruitful, so people continued to post about the side-issue of Cort and his journalism. I have not reviewed the thread to see what vague and unreferenced insults and allegations continued after my comments but I will reference any I find and point them out to the moderation team later.

    You may be astounded that goldiland's post has been allowed to stay here awol, but I doubt it. But prepare to be truly dumbfounded and amazed - I haven't even been logged on during the middle of the night: I went to sleep!!! Well, for part of the night, anyway. Perhaps you know which other moderators are on duty, I haven't a clue on that one.

    And if by a swarming you mean everybody ganging up on you and pleading with you to stop posting rubbish, then yes I gladly join that swarm, because it is rubbish in the form of a series of unjustified, unexplained, unjustifiable attacks on Cort's integrity, reporting, and whatever else, prompted by spurious stupidity such as the "viruses" non-issue, and the only real criticism I have of him right is that he puts up with it.
  16. awol

    awol *****

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    Mark, since you have so blatantly misinterpreted what I said, who are you to say it is not a misrepresentation?

    Absolutely noone called Cort a sexist. I said that a particular behaviour pattern in a particular situation (attacking Mikovits PR skills and using this to undermine her brilliant science), to me, was reminiscent of sexism. Subsequently, a whole swarm of men chose to jump on me for this comment. Wow. Yet noone provided an example of a man whose brilliant science was similarly discredited because of his social skills. I am still waiting there.

    I also said that while I do, for the moment, believe Cort to be biased, he can prove otherwise by doing one of two things: Either extend the same benefit of the doubt to Mikovits as he extends to the CAA (ie. work from the assumption that he does not know what is going on behind the scenes) OR, provide a detailed critical analysis of what the CAA does, how they do it and why. Without doing this, his pattern is universally, undermine Mikovits and cast doubt whenever possible, but vigorously defend, even without basis, anything the CAA says or does.

    Given that the WPI and the CAA are in loose competition for the private contributions of patients and for research grants, and that for a while Mikovits' science was in serious danger of being repressed, this behaviour on Cort's part is not without consequence. I take this issue very seriously.

    So should you.

    So, learn to read. Learn the difference between calling someone a sexist, and pointing out that a certain behaviour follows a known sexist pattern. Lern to seen when the tone of those who are attacking people you happen to disagree with is blatantly hostile and uncalled for, while the tone of the one you do not agree with has remained calm and rational. Learn to hold back your own vitriol.
  17. Mark

    Mark Acting CEO

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    I am not too concerned about your fears over my lack of credibility awol, but accusing me or anybody else of being malicious is again crossing the line, a direct attack on me, and I take exception to it. I am not malicious but I certainly am fed up with the nonsense you keep writing about Cort and I don't see why I shouldn't say so whether I am a moderator or not. In my view as I have stated your comments about Cort repeatedly broke the rules.

    If Cort's "sexism" is a subtle mechanism causing him to "attack the WPI/Dr Mikovits", and examples of that "attacking" are similar to this one about the 4 viruses - and the thing is, they always are like this - then my representation of your muddled reasoning makes at least as much sense as the reasoning itself.

    If you hear and read that Dr Mikovits herself is comfortable to call them "a family of viruses", and you still can't see that there is nothing subtly manipulative or devious about writing an article where the title starts with the words "Four Viruses?" then you just can't be reasoned with. Can you not see that you now have to insist on the sentence "This family of viruses is all the same virus, not multiple viruses" ?

    Well, actually, there is some truth in it, because the way the words are actually used does not make sense - and sometimes they are used in a scientifically technically inaccurate way - so awol is in a way right and one can say "well we call HIV the HIV virus - or indeed the AIDS virus - when there are lots of strains" - but that is a shorthand, and no such term exists at present - certainly not 'XMRV' which falsely implies xenotropism, and who knows whether we will eventually call it, in common language, the HGRV virus, or something similar. For now though, it's a family of gammaretroviruses.

    It might help everyone to realise that these naming conventions are far from perfect, and quite obviously so because if a virus differs from another by a single base pair, it is not the same - so once again: how long is a piece of string? Whatever words we use are an imperfect shorthand mapping, which we naturally tend to assume really means what it says - it doesn't, it's a shorthand representation of the latest understanding of reality.

    I think this whole confusion is artificially created, and this confusion was immediately what I saw when I read the press release, which disappointed me for that reason because these complexities and arguments were immediately foreseeable. It was immediately obvious that this was a confirmation and extension of the WPI's work that had issues of detail that would dress the whole thing up as less important than it is. That is how it is - and was so before Cort wrote his article. The 3-month delay and change of emphasis does appear to me to involve a possibly deliberate muddying of the waters, but it may be an entirely coincidental one, which just happens to downplay the story in the public spotlight in just the way one would predict that information with such massive implications would be handled.
  18. awol

    awol *****

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    I am fed up with the nonsense you keep writing about me. What I have said about Cort is a) perfectly polite and b) accurate. You are welcome to search through his records.


    Again you insinuate that I called Cort a sexist. I did not. I pointed out the similarity of a particular behaviour to a sexist pattern I have both witnesses and experienced directly. The difference is that I clearly said that I did not believe sexism was the intention. Surely we have a right to refer to our own experiences? And without being subsequently attacked by a swarm of men who seem to want to deny that sexism colours ALL of our behaviour sometimes?
  19. awol

    awol *****

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    The attacks in the article to which I refer are when he claimed that if the results conflict, the WPI must be wrong, the refusal to use Mikovits' own words as a credible source, etc.

    The title is simply a factual error. Alter also called Hep C and HIV "families of viruses". This does not change the fact that we still understand them and refer to them as single viruses when we speak of them.

    The science is simply not there yet to declare these to be anything except variants. While words are not perfect, this is what we have to represent ideas. When we talk about having a virus, we say we have a certain one. Scientists can talk all they want about families of viruses and variants and strains etc. That does not change the fact that the title seems, because of the way we non-scientists use language, to be talking about big differences, like Hep C versus HIV versus H1N1, when really we are talking about minute differences that normally would have no role in popular perceptions of their virus. That is why the title is inaccurate and misleading.
  20. Mark

    Mark Acting CEO

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    I say this is a misrepesentation by you because I never said that anybody did call Cort a sexist. You imply here that I did say that.What you call a misrepresentation is just because you don't agree with my description of your and v99's comments, but my description was quite fair.

    Yes, I know you did. It's a ridiculous comment. Apart from the fact that Cort never has "attacked" Dr Mikovits, and that's just your hyperbolic interpretation of comments he has made, I don't see why you should be allowed to say "this reminds me of sexism" (as if anybody was interested in that reflection) and then go on to say "oh I'm not saying you're sexist, that's just what it reminds me of..." and also expect that people won't defend Cort from that allegation.

    And of course anybody who does defend Cort is obviously a man (how do you know all their genders then?) and presumably the whole swarm is a swarm of sexists.

    Even though Wessely and White have been cited as examples. And again in any case there's the casual incorrect premise: that Dr Mikovits science is being "discredited because of social skills" although as so often it's not clear who exactly you're saying, or implying, is doing this.

    Well. It's useful you're here to be completely unbiased. Until now I had assumed there was no such thing, much though some people try to be unbiased.


    No it is not. his "pattern, universally", again you are just getting completely carried away.

    I would if his behaviour were as you characterise it.

    Great idea! Can you recommend any good books on that? :rolleyes:

    Perhaps in the latter case you are just suggesting that someone may be a sexist because their pattern of behaviour looks to you like a sexist pattern. And therefore that's different from saying they are one.

    But the point about it is, really, that you are only citing one example yourself. Cort questioning Dr Mikovits PR (and I don't even have the quotes you mean but hey) - one man, one woman, the man is questioning whether the woman's presentation could have been better.

    That then is the evidence of a sexist pattern.

    Is there any other evidence of this sexist pattern, with Cort questioning women more unreasonably than he questions men? Perhaps he denigrates Dr Vernon and Kim McCleary similarly?

    Or is it this one question he raises, about one woman, which you analyse as a sexist pattern?

    Difficult, then, for any man to raise any question or criticise any detail about any woman around your company. If doing so is a sexist pattern.

    No, I propose that it's you who are being sexist by making that sort of comment, seemingly questioning a man's right to pass comment on an individual woman's PR skills.


    Believe me, I am holding back my vitriol.

    The tone is indeed hostile, but not uncalled for, because it is caused by repeated false and irrational claims about Cort. You may have remained calm as you continued with your insults to Cort, but I don't see anything rational here. If only there were some element of rational criticism, some nugget of a point you might make, instead of these repeated ad hominem attacks from which nobody could possibly ever defend themselves, because they are no more than name-calling.
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