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Problems with Redlabs Testing in Brussels

Discussion in 'XMRV Testing, Treatment and Transmission' started by AlexMac, Mar 14, 2011.

  1. AlexMac

    AlexMac

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    I got tested in December, I'm still waiting for the results. I recently learned that antibiotics and antivirals should not be taken in order to avoid negative results. I was on antibiotics about ten days before taking the test. I asked the redlabs for an explanation and they dismissed me, didn't want to know anything to do with it. Told me to contact Reno. I heard some patients in Europe complaining about the same situation.

    Here's the message I sent to VipDX concerning this problem :


    "Hello,

    I’m contacting you on behalf of Mr Hernndez from Redlabs in Belgium since he was “unable” to answer my questions concerning the XMRV tests I took last December.

    Indeed, I took both the XMRV PCR and serology tests in December at the Redlabs. I was in contact with Dr Frmont and MR Hernandez. They told me that there wasn’t any particular requirement (in terms of medication) for this test at the time. I paid 559 euros for both tests only to learn now that I shouldn’t have taken antibiotics since according to the following Study in Norway: http://www.scribd.com/doc/50525150/Phase-I-Norwegian-XMRV-Study antibiotics and antivirals might alter the results by increasing the risk of getting false negatives…

    I asked the Redlabs for compensation since I WAS NOT TOLD about this problem BEFORE TAKING THE TEST and Mr Hernandez simply dismissed me by telling me to contact you.

    I live in France and I struggled to make it to Brussels on that day and I struggled to pay for such HUGE fees only to learn that my results may come out negative now. By the way I took the test on December 22nd and I’m STILL WAITING FOR THE RESULTS. Mr Hernandez told me that the PCR would take only 10 weeks and that this test is performed at the Redlabs… I’m still waiting for the results. In spite of the fact that this test is performed at the Redlabs Mr Hernandez was unable to answer my questions and dismissed me by telling me to contact you for a test THEY PERFORMED in Belgium.

    I found this inadmissible! Redlabs treating patients in this way, they are only worried about getting money from sick and poor people and they do not take any responsibility on the tests they perform or how they perform them either.

    I wait for some clarifications on this subject. I’m not the only patient in this situation"

    And here's the answer I got from the "Marketing and Client relations Director" (no formality phrases included in her answer):

    We have nothing to do with the way business is run in RED Laboratories Belgium. We are a separate business in the USA.

    In our lab in the USA, patients have been waiting up to five months for results due to an enormous backlog. For the culture, the cells must grow in culture for 60 days or more. In order to detect virus, it has to grow in cells when stimulated. Because this is a low copy and slow growing virus with high and low cycles, it is not always easy to detect. The serology test typically takes less time to report out. However, in our lab, we usually wait until both tests are completed before we report out the results.

    As far as taking medications, it would stand to reason that if you are being tested for a virus, you would want to be off anti-viral medication. It is also prudent to be off antibiotics as well to be sure results are not skewed especially for culture and antibody (serology) testing.

    Your payment issues are to be discussed with RED Laboratories Belgium as we did not collect any money from you and we cannot reimburse you for what we did not receive.

    Marguerite Ross, Director
    Marketing & Client Relations
    775-351-1890
    775-682-8281 Fax

    VpDx DID COLLECT SOME MONEY since the SEROLOGY TEST is not performed by the RedLabs (only the PCR TESTING is performed in Belgium), Serology is performed by VipDx.
    Concerning the answers I got from the Redlabs (they are all in French) and they simply see "we have nothing to do with this, go and ask VipDx in Reno".

    If anyone had the same problems I"ll be more than willing to start an action against the RedLabs.
    Here's my email; alex.maclachlan@free.fr
  2. insearchof

    insearchof Senior Member

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    Alex

    Can understand your feeling anxious about this situation. However, the culturing of a slow replicating virus does take time. Most people have had to wait months for results and for those results to be checked.

    The study you referred to I could not access but I note it is only in Ph I and in your own words, states that taking antibiotics MIGHT result in a false positive. I don't know when the research was done, but generally speaking this sort of research would only be in it's early stages with further studies needed confirming the results before you could even consider saying that Redlabs had any real duty at all to advise patients of this. So,given the research is in it's early stages regarding false negatives produced by antibiotics, it is equally plausible that antibiotics do not produce a false negative, or it may be found after much research, that only certain types of antibiotics have this outcome.

    Given all of the above, your "action" against Redlabs is likely to be difficult I would think, if not expensive.

    You would also be met with this arguement: the science is new and the test you are seeking is cutting edge, it has not been FDA approved and I am sure it has not been approved in Europe. You, like everyone else who wants to get tested in these early days, must accept responsibility for the fact that right now, things are not perfect. Science in this field is moving fast, but the point is, that it is still moving. There are always risks, as there maybe benefits in getting in at the early stages of the game, but you have to accept the risks if you want early results and unfortunately, as many of us here know all too well, trying to find health for an illness where there is no cure can be expensive. Some of us have spent our savings chasing health and some of us are wondering whether we should simply save the last of our pennies until science has the answer. At the end of the day it comes down to a risk benefit analysis and always taking personal responsibility for decisions and choices we make.

    You might find Alex, that the antibiotics you took had no real effect on your results. Wouldn't it be best to wait to get your result first....isnt your concern a little premature? You really may be generating a lot of unnecessary worry for yourself.
  3. Daffodil

    Daffodil Senior Member

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    i was told that taking antiretrovirals should not affect serology testing...i dont see how it would?
  4. AlexMac

    AlexMac

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    All wrong

  5. Wonko

    Wonko Senior Member

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    Please dont shout so loudly.
  6. SpecialK82

    SpecialK82 Senior Member

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    Alex, I understand your frustration, and of course you should know what medications may skew results.

    If this makes you feel better, I remember that Mikovitz said that taking antivirals do not affect the result because XMRV is a retrovirus not a virus, I would think the same then for antibiotics.

    Good Luck with your results.
  7. aquariusgirl

    aquariusgirl Senior Member

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    just spoke to VIP.
    they siad they want a washout period of 2 wks for any antiviral Rx or OTC .antibioitc or antifungal....before you do the test.
    I think their guidelines on this are evolving. just a guess.
  8. Nielk

    Nielk

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    Alex is right.
    Thys information should be available to us before we send our samples in.
  9. AlexMac

    AlexMac

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    Thank you SpecialK, I didn't know that she said that. I hope that applies to antibiotics too. But just a quick question, didn't she said that in the sense that antivirals cannot be used to treat XMRV + patients? :(
  10. AlexMac

    AlexMac

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    Now that's some news! Thank you Aqua, this is useful info, Why don't they communicate more on this??? Thanks for your comment. It's not reassuring but at least it'll help other people.
  11. AlexMac

    AlexMac

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    Yup, and paying a fortune for nothing... :/
  12. Dan_USAAZ

    Dan_USAAZ

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    The following has been on the VIP Dx website FAQ page since at least last September:

    Q: Should I stop taking antiviral medications prior to testing?

    A: Medications can reduce the viral load to such a low copy that it cannot be detected by PCR/culture. The serology test is less sensitive to antiviral medications. CONSULT with your physician regarding your current medications and/or treatments and when you should proceed with your testing.

    The following is the link to their FAQ page.

    http://www.vipdx.com/faqs/
  13. SpecialK82

    SpecialK82 Senior Member

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    She said it specifically to a question asking about taking antivirals when getting the XMRV test
  14. insearchof

    insearchof Senior Member

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    Alex,

    My reply to you was based on the idea that at the time of your discussions with red labs that this information might not have been well known. it seems someone here has posted (see post 12) that information re antivirals was available on VIP web site in Sept, but I note it says nothing specifically about antibiotics, but is addressing antivirals. You do not say when you discussed this matter with red labs. Ie: prior to Sept or thereafter. In any event it does not change my view. When I spoke of duty I was speaking of my understanding of how the law might see red labs responsibility (admittedly based in my country, which is a common law legal system and not a civil European one)

    Again in my country, your position would be weakened because it would be argued that your doctor would ultimately be responsible for dispensing this sort of advice to you, not a lab. If a duty or responsibility did exist, it would lie on a doctor, not a lab, because common practice acknowledges you order these tests via a doctor. Did you seek the advice of a physician or did you go it alone?

    Also, you refer to conversations with red labs- and perhaps they misunderstood your question, and unless you have something in writing form them confirming what they told you, it will be your word against theirs.

    As I said, this is all new and developing very quickly, and it is unfair to state the motives of red labs, as you have. In my country, unless there was scientific studies conclusively showing that antibiotics do produce a false negative result, I question whether there would be a legal duty for the lab to tell you anything about the possibility of interactions with antibiotics.But I know nothing about European laws.

    To answer your question as to who's fault it is, well this might turn on what the laws of Belgium have to say on the matter. And you will spend thousands more on legal advice to recoup pennies. It makes no sense to me at all.

    No, I don't work for red labs :). I am just giving you a wider perspective and things to consider before using the last of your energy and cash.

    Also, your message to alert people does not bother me in the least :)
  15. ukxmrv

    ukxmrv Senior Member

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    Alex,

    Could you please take VIP dx out of your heading for this thread? As far as I can see your argument is with Redlabs and I totally support you on this.

    VIP dx have not done anything wrong here.

    You are right to be angry and right to warn people. One of the problems is that if patients go straight to VIP dx through their doctor in the USA the responsibility is there. With patients going straight to Redlabs in Europe they are not aware of the VIPdx warnings.
  16. AlexMac

    AlexMac

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    Well thank you for your advice but as you said laws are different in each country. To answer your question, no they don't have the right to do what they did. That is why I'm trying to alert people on this (particularly those in Europe).
    Taking this to court won't cost me a penny, I have a good insurance for that and I won't hesitate to use this.
  17. insearchof

    insearchof Senior Member

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    Hi Alexmac

    Not advice Alex, just throwing out some material for your consideration and to give you another perspective, but it seems I was wasting my time, as I missed the fact that you had already had advice on the laws there and were assured of your position and chances for success. My apologies.

    Insurers in Europe must operate a lot differently to insurers here, who would not be too interested in taking on such a small claim.

    Anyhow, best of luck and I hope your health holds up through it all.
  18. aiden424

    aiden424

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    I had culture test at vipdx a year a go. It came back negative. I had been on Doxycycline for two years prior to testing. I called vipdx before the test and told them I was on Doxy. They said it was fine. They said I would be retested when the new test became available. That was over a year ago and have never heard from them again. I contacted them about 4 or 5 times but finally just gave up. I think my first culture was only 6 weeks not 60. Think they are really swamped with testing.
  19. AlexMac

    AlexMac

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    I'm sorry to hear this. They changed since then, VipDx confirmed by email that antivirals and antibiotics WILL skew results (PCR testing in particular!). They added on their site the word "Medication" can skew results (or something like that) so every patient willing to get tested now should contact them and ask them the whole list of things they should be avoiding before testing and paying for this test. I haven't heard from the RedLabs but I'm definitely calling them this week. I sent probably at least eight to ten emails to VipDx to finally get this information. If I were you I would INSIST INSIST, don't give up, specially if you pay for this! They can of course say that at the time they didn't know about antivirals, but still, I'd give it a try if I were you. Good luck.:(
  20. aiden424

    aiden424

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    Well I called them before I had my blood drawn to make sure Doxy was ok. They said yes. The reason I called was that there was an article on Minocycline and hiv. It said mino dropped the viral load way down on blood infected with hiv. Doxy is in the same class of antibiotics.

    I guess then it really wouldn't make sense to test the same blood that they have. I would need to be off Doxy for awhile then send in a new blood sample.

    Which I would have been fine with it they had just told me.

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