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Rumor Viruses author weighs in on XMRV debate

Discussion in 'XMRV Research and Replication Studies' started by natasa778, Sep 29, 2010.

  1. natasa778

    natasa778 Senior Member

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    Robin Weiss playing down XMRV again, calling CDC study 'definite evidence of absence'

    Remember a few weeks back the article in Lancet, this guy Weiss out of the blue no rhyme or reason brought up 'no link between MMR and autism' when making his case for 'no link between XMRV and human disease'.

    Now he is once again denouncing XMRV link to human diseases, calling on CDC negative xmrv studies as definite evidence of absence (easy buster), and denouncing MMR link to autism, in the same breath. Go figure.

    http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7007/8/124

    Extremely odd to say the least.
  2. VillageLife

    VillageLife Senior Member

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    Professor Myra McClure said this paper was coming out, she said......... Professor Robin Weiss who is the UK’s leading retrovirologist has a very readable article coming out in the next couple of weeks addressing why different laboratories are getting different results and discussing the problems retrovirologists face in isolating contaminating viruses that they think are new human viruses.
  3. VillageLife

    VillageLife Senior Member

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    here is a quote from the paper,all I can say is the NCI must feel so insulted.
  4. eric_s

    eric_s Senior Member

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    Blah, blah, blah, whatever... Let them talk... some other people are actually working and not just commenting.
    We can't know for sure at this moment, but i think it will not take very long for new studies to finally settle this discussion.
    Lo/Alter, Mikovits et al., Hanson/Bell, VIP Dx, RedLabs, IrsiCaixa (Spain)... so many different groups have found HMRV by now and many of them (probably all) have thought about how to rule out contamination and they're no beginners either.
  5. natasa778

    natasa778 Senior Member

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    Yes of course, but a particularly bad thing about this particular person is that he is someone UK media go to first, via Science Media Centre. Him and myra m.
  6. FancyMyBlood

    FancyMyBlood Senior Member

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    Unless I missed something in the full-text (or my English is that bad) I think this is a pretty tendentious title for this topic. He didn't say the CDC study is definite evidence of absence, he said there is firm evidence of absence. That are two totally different quotes, while the first is conclusive the latter still leaves up some space for the XMRV positive studies.
    With that being said, the first half of the article it was like reading Myra McClure. They definitely had contact with eachother before they decided to go public with their lobby against XMRV. I'm shocked how they can get away with their line of reasoning. I mean, they could be right in the end [I HOPE NOT] but that's not proven by their selective reasoning. Why do they say it's probably contamination and keep pointing to the CDC study while Alter found 'evolved' MLV virusses in fresh blood of CFS patients. How the hell is that possible with contamination?! Why don't they wait till the multi-center study is being done?! Why does McClure say the CDC had three labs testing the samples, so the total of negative studies should be 6, while the WPI also had their samples tested by 3 different labs?! I can't keep thinking they have some sort of bias/agenda against this virus!
  7. eric_s

    eric_s Senior Member

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    In the end it won't matter, but it really does not give a good impression about how some things in the UK are going... Sorry for having to say this :Retro redface:
    It's like a guru or something. You should gather information on your own and from all the available sources, not like this.

    I also don't get it, how they can repeat again and again that it's in their opinion wrong to say that the Lo et al. (Alter) paper is confirmation of the Lombardi et al. Science paper, when Alter himself said that.
    It's not just patients or some media outlets saying this. IT WAS THE AUTHOR OF THE STUDY... I would trust him better to judge what his work means, than those people.
  8. eric_s

    eric_s Senior Member

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    The strange thing is just that even if they had this, they would have to know that they're only digging themselves deeper in the ...
    It's hard to understand. Are they really so confident that they're right? Or is it just a personal thing between some people in the UK vs some people in the USA? But then they would be crazy to put their reputations on the line just for this ego war.
  9. natasa778

    natasa778 Senior Member

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    They are probably just too arrogant and used to acting/saying things with impunity for far too long.
  10. Cookie Monster

    Cookie Monster

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    Exactly - only employees of state-funded establishments could do this.
  11. eric_s

    eric_s Senior Member

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    And people also tend to forget quite quickly and the general public don't even know about this controversy. If XMRV turns out to be causal for CFS, then the same people will probably be doing research into XMRV in one or two years as if nothing had happened.
  12. Cloud

    Cloud Guest

    I thought the presence of antibodies conclusively rules out contamination. Ok, so only 50% are showing positive for Antibodies, but it seems that still ends that argument.
  13. Jimk

    Jimk

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    This media report about his Lancet article reveals a bit more background to his concerns. Seems he has personal experience in getting smacked by the contamination issue: http://www.latimes.com/health/boostershots/la-heb-chronic-fatigue-09292010,0,3081476.story?track=rss
    "Weiss knows something about the issue. In 1997, his own team reported finding a retrovirus genome in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Two teams -- one in Sweden, one in the U.S. -- "confirmed" his results. It seemed to be a breakthrough in rheumatoid arthritis.

    But four years after Weiss reported his findings, he discovered he was actually detecting contamination from a newly discovered rabbit retrovirus.

    "I raise an eyebrow when investigators declare that contamination is ‘out of the question'; once bitten, twice shy," Weiss said.

    "My own skepticism," he wrote, "derives from a strong feeling of dj vu.""
  14. Mark

    Mark Acting CEO

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    I'd strongly recommend that posters on this thread read the whole of Weiss' article carefully, if only to ensure that they understand where the scepticism is coming from. I did actually find it highly readable, and the most intelligent and informative "negative" viewpoint that I've read yet, by quite some margin. There are a lot of points in there that are well worth understanding.

    I want to caution also that Weiss is a senior and well-respected retrovirologist, with considerable history of relevant 'rumours', including one that he 'discovered' himself - and shrill dismissal of his point of view will not come across as credible to those who know who he is. And I'd also note that this piece is actually reasonably balanced, even though he makes his opinion clear: he leaves the door open for the XMRV findings to be valid after all.

    That said, he does seem to have a heavily biased view - a bias born out of the sense of "deja vu" mentioned. The same goes for many or even most of the sceptics. Their reaction appears to be basically "oh no! here we go again!". This is obviously a field where there have been many 'false starts' in the past - as he notes, so far only two of the suspected human retroviruses have actually turned out to be solidly confirmed.

    And yet...even some of these old 'false rumours' seem to still be in a somewhat inconclusive state. What I don't see in the article is a clear explanation of why the 'false rumours' definitely had nothing to them. The following passage was particularly interesting:

    So: many years on, a mystery remains as to how the virus came to be detected more frequently in disease samples. This, of course, is a key plank of the argument that XMRV can't just be contamination. It would seem that the same mystery applies to all these earlier "rumour viruses" - and has never been adequately explained. It's very honest of Weiss to admit that his suggestion about more frequent handling of the vials containing the clinical specimens is not really a satisfactory explanation. It wouldn't seem to be a very satisfactory explanation when the tubes are sealed until tested, as I believe was the case with the recent studies.

    And I look forward to the explanation of why Dr Singh found the more detailed correlation between severity of prostate cancer prognosis and likelihood of XMRV detection. Were the tubes of the most seriously ill prostate cancer patients handled proportionately more frequently prior to testing? Hmm...

    Even in the case of SV40, as Weiss notes himself:
    So Weiss himself may regard that report as a cop-out, and a compromise wording, but the truth is that even after thorough investigation of that "rumour", the report went no further than to say that there was "no conclusive evidence".

    Weiss describes how SV40 was discovered, found to be present in vaccines that had been used on millions of people, prompting vaccine manufacturers to switch to alternative cell substrates which themselves were then found, 20 years later, to be infected with another immunodeficiency virus. And then...

    Reading all this makes it very clear what the history says, and why some scientists have made up their minds at an early stage. Their minds don't seem to be very open, because they've seen it all before. And yet...all those previous examples of retroviruses contaminating vaccines and then being detected in association with human disease...those all "came to nothing"...but the results remain unexplained...some people found them, others couldn't replicate the results, and really, in some cases at least, still nobody knows why...

    It all explains an awful lot about the context for the debate, and makes an apparently ridiculous sceptical position seem at least understandable...but at the end of the day, it all does seem to still hinge on the requirement that "absence of evidence" be considered to be "evidence of absence". Those old rumours, it would seem, were never actually debunked as such, but rather, they were not universally confirmed...

    And I would assume therefore that scientists have already taken sides on what all of this means, long ago, and independently of anything to do with CFS or XMRV. It would seem that the careers of those who have decided it all means nothing have tended to flourish - the venom directed at those who think it might all mean something makes it clear what a bad career move that viewpoint is.

    Where does all that leave us?

    Well for a start it's all a salutory lesson from history, which does tend to repeat itself, especially for those who don't know it, so the saying goes. We can predict, then, that the comparative study will claim to debunk the WPI findings and the WPI et al will cry 'foul', and that all this could potentially go on for another 20 years with no definitive answer.

    But as for me...well, along the way I have learned that (a) lots of freshly-discovered viruses, retroviruses, and immune deficiency viruses have turned up in vaccines over the years, (b) when this has happened it has prompted grave concern, (c) those same viruses have later been associated with various neurological and immunological diseases and cancers, (d) those associations never seem to stick, but (e) many of them have never been satisfactorily explained.

    And as for me, stuck here with a mysterious immune abnormality, a novel phenomenon apparently unknown to medical science, which nobody seems to be the least bit interested in investigating, despite symptom patterns which turn out to be shared with many other people round the world, even though the medical authorities seem to know nothing of this...and being aware that levels of immune dysfunction, allergies, neurological conditions and cancers are rising dramatically throughout the 'western' world in particular, and that there is still no explanation for those medical mysteries...and now coming across a theory that explains pretty well why the mainstream medical world seems hell-bent on denying our existence, preventing the investigation of our illnesses, and persecuting our physicians...Well, what can I conclude?

    Mainly, I'm left with the following firm facts: that multiple unknown retroviruses are known to have infected vaccines, that these are well capable of causing immune dysfunction, and that we have a modern epidemic of immune dysfunction with no explanation offered. Plus the observation that people who suggest that the epidemic might be caused by vaccines tend to be persecuted, discredited, and hounded out of their job.

    It would seem pretty lucky if all these retrovirus-infected vaccines turned out to be harmless. Including the ones we still haven't discovered. It seems pretty interesting that ME/CFS is a bizarre condition, defying medical explanation, with so many confusing contradictions, and yet when you learn what a retrovirus is and what it does, and how the retrovirus-infected vaccine theory would work out if it were true, it turns out that it can easily explain all the mysteries of the condition. Like why the first outbreak at Royal Free Hospital 1955 only affected the doctors and nurses, not the patients, for example - which of these sounds the better theory now: that they had something weird and unknown infecting the staff common room, or that being health workers they all got a hefty dose of early vaccines?

    So I'm extremely tempted to put 2 and 2 together here. I can kind of see why the sceptics would think: "It can't all be XMRV, surely - there must be lots of other vaccine-mediated retroviruses involved too". So I'm not going to conclude that XMRV is the cause of my own ruined life. But I am going to conclude that some kind of retrovirus or retroviruses, quite possibly vaccine-mediated, probably also transmitted in other ways as well, is by far and away the most likely explanation I've ever heard for the cause of ME/CFS. It certainly sounds a lot better to me than "repressed memories of childhood trauma...the mind's a funny thing you know...."
  15. Ruth

    Ruth Member

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    Great post, Mark. I've been having a number of similar thoughts/conclusions. Hope to add a few thoughts tomorrow, but too tired right now. [That's one thing they have been able to count on, the CFS group has usually been too tired to speak up or fight back effectively. But this has to change and I think with the help of these forums is already changing. For example, I've had this for 25 years, but last year October, after joining the forums a couple of months before, was the first I even thought of going to CFSAC and now I'm planning to attend again this Oct. And I'm trying to think about ways to make my attendance as useful as possible. Just wish I had more energy :(]
  16. xrayspex

    xrayspex Senior Member

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    Mark I also like your post quite a bit, but you're killing me! I have been a bit cynical the last couple weeks because the excitement of waiting for Alter paper and my xmrv results was great vindication in the moment, but then, back to nothings really different at the end of the day.....has been anticlimatic. The forces that be could jack around for years on this stuff until the liable ones are dead. Anyway, I need to also have some hope for change....within the next yearish.....not sure what my game plan is with all this swirling.
  17. natasa778

    natasa778 Senior Member

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    liked your post Mark just to add

    worth keeping in mind that more often than not "those studies that came to nothing" were conducted by the CDC, involving switzer and heinene (who came up empty handed just now with xmrv).

    other things worth keeping in mind are those tiny details that slip through unnoticed, like WHO nowdays requiring MMR manufacturers to provide ALV-free certificates for their batches etc.
  18. ukxmrv

    ukxmrv Senior Member

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    It may also be important to read about Robin's Weiss and his "discoveries/successes"

    http://www.fearoftheinvisible.com/aidsresearch

    In May 1991, knowing what the OSI was about to deliver its report, Gallo wrote to Nature, confessing that he now realised that the French virus and his own were the same. He blamed his error on inadvertent laboratory contamination. Then a similar confession appeared in the UK from a leading British virologist and colleague of Robert Gallo, Dr. Robin Weiss, the scientist I had first met when he was chairing the NIH workshop on SV40, and again when he was chairing the Royal Society debate on the polio vaccine and HIV.

    Weiss now confessed that the AIDS virus he claimed to isolate in 1985, a year after Gallo, was in fact the very same one that the Institut Pasteur had sent him earlier. Like Gallo, his explanation was inadvertent laboratory contamination. He also, like Gallo, had used the French virus to secure a UK patent for the HIV test.====================================================================================

    Patients can then judge for themselves how much personal self interest (and the interests of his protege, Myra Mclure) are tied up together.
  19. alice1

    alice1 Senior Member

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    I used to think the Lancet was a very interesting and unbiased science journal.But since their disclaimer regarding vaccines and autism and now publishing Dr.Weiss's report they seem to be doing a 180 on their publishing.Has anyone read an article from the journal that has a Doctor talking about their positive findings?
  20. anciendaze

    anciendaze Senior Member

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    From the posts above, one might conclude contamination is both common in his laboratory, and handy to explain anything. That is perhaps too harsh a judgment.

    We have two threads about the same editorial, the other via the LA Times. I've posted my view of the Weiss editorial there.

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