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TWIV #125 - implications for the "contamination origin theory for XMRV"...

Discussion in 'Media, Interviews, Blogs, Talks, Events about XMRV' started by voner, Mar 20, 2011.

  1. voner

    voner Senior Member

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    I just got done listening to "This Week in Virology", #125 -- March 20, 2011.

    http://www.twiv.tv/

    They discussed two papers -- and the second one has a direct implication for the XMRV is it contamination controversy. From what I understood, good old Alan Dove was researching the XMRV controversy and up popped this 2009 research paper that they discussed:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2760500/?tool=pubmed

    Unintended spread of a biosafety level 2 recombinant retrovirus..

    I'll leave it up to someone else on the forum to discuss in detail what are the implications of the paper, but the point that Alan drives home is that the contamination origin such as it is being proposed for XMRV, is a lot more common than most people think -- and this paper gives good evidence for it. The participants get into a pretty animated discussion about contamination problems that are so prevalent in these research labs.

    I'd love to hear comments from somebody who's listened to it closely and wants to comment. I was just kind of listening out of a corner ear as I was doing morning tasks.
  2. Jemal

    Jemal Senior Member

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    I haven't listened to the podcast yet, but do they say anything about contamination spreading to humans?
    Basically a lot of researchers are screaming contamination, but if the contamination is still a virus that infects humans and causes disease...
  3. August59

    August59 Daughters High School Graduation

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    I would not doubt it a bit if there is another year of research wasted on the origin of XMRV! It is a virus and it is causing harm to humans, please help us find treatments!
  4. Jemal

    Jemal Senior Member

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    The problem is that many researchers are just in it for studying the pathogen I guess...
  5. ixchelkali

    ixchelkali Senior Member

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    I posted a question about the implications of that paper on another forum back in Nov '09, and cold_taste_of_tears was kind enough to post it here on PR. I thought then that a MuLV-like virus which showed 99% identity to a synthetic retrovirus manufactured in the 1980's, which had escaped to contaminate multiple cell lines, raised some questions. That in the 1980's they had manufactured synthetic MuLV-like viruses. That it had escaped in spite of biosafety level 2 precautions. That it had gone undetected 20 years or so. That it was highly infectious, but it was only cytopathic for a short time. That there had been another instance in which a squirrel monkey retrovirus had ended up in interferon in 1998.

    At that time, I questioned "Can somebody with a better understanding of these things explain why I shouldn’t find this disturbing? Or why people who DO understand this stuff aren’t alarmed? Or are they?" So now I finally have an answer. The experts found it interesting but not disturbing. Their attitude is kind of like "well, these things happen." I got the impression they only discussed it as an example of how you could get contamination into your lab from a cell line you had never worked with. Personally, though, I still find it troubling to learn that we have man-made infectious retroviruses escaping and going undetected. I'm not comfortable that we fully understand the effect these retroviruses might have in the wild, or how they might mutate, or whether they are completely benign. I'm uneasy that these "helper viruses" may one day prove not to be so helpful.

    But I have a feeling that those who work in the field would just chuckle and tell me not worry my pretty little head about it.
  6. LJS

    LJS Insert Witty Comment Here

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    No, as of now no one has been able to prove XMRV can infect humans. The bottom line is someone has to show the RNA integration sites of XMRV in humans. People can argue all they want about the vality of XMRV in the lab being actual XMRV in humans but until someone can find these integration sites it will remain a virus only accepted as being found in labs and labs cell lines.

    Also this thread should be in the XMRV media section.
  7. Mark

    Mark Acting CEO

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    I would think that the findings in rhesus macaques - that XMRV can infect them, lie low in the blood, and spread to multiple organs - are a pretty good clue as to whether it can infect humans. The harder question may be proving that it has any harmful effects.

    The analysis in this thread is spot on: Robin Weiss' paper on the history of contamination was an eye-opener, basically saying "this sort of thing has been happening for years, we never get to the bottom of what's going on, and we don't understand why, we just give up in the end so we should give up on this one as well." Scientists do just seem to shrug their shoulders and say 'probably some kind of contamination', and return to their pet projects.

    But from our point of view, the realisation that it's not disputed that scientists have been creating retroviruses in labs, both deliberately and accidentally, that these retroviruses have been mysteriously spreading all over the world, and nobody knows how, that they can be transmitted in vaccines, that some of them can infect human cells (in vitro at least), and that we're not even sure how many there are or how to detect them...all of that, which is now beyond reasonable doubt, is highly suggestive to those of us with mysterious neurological and immune disorders. At the absolute bare minimum, something, or some things like XMRV, now have to be a major candidate to explain ME/CFS, and something to keep on searching for.
  8. currer

    currer Senior Member

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    I asume the reason virologists are so apparently unconcerned about the spread of viral contamination in the lab is because they would not be able to continue with their work if control of contaminants were more stringently enforced.
    There was a paper a while ago which suggested that much lab research was invalidated by widespread contamination of cell lines. It was ignored because if you have spent the last ten years on researching a cell line which turns out to be contaminated, your achievements are down the drain. Best to forget this uncomfortable possibility and don't cause problems for your colleagues research either.

    As far as contamination goes, who is going to do the controlling? Only those same virologists who do the contaminating in the first place.
    No-one else can see or knows how to find the little buggers! You are talking about self-policing here.

    I think this is likely to be a problem it is in no-ones interest to discover.
    And where is the funding for this work to come from? Would business or university departments really want to pay to uncover this?
  9. eric_s

    eric_s Senior Member

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    Silverman and colleagues have described XMRV integration. There are doubts about parts of that (i think 2 of 14 integration sites or something like that), but that does not mean their work has been proven to be wrong. So why do you think XMRV infection has not been proven, LJS?
  10. lansbergen

    lansbergen Senior Member

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    As the provirus is DNA one can wait till the cows come home for somebody to show integrated RNA.
  11. LJS

    LJS Insert Witty Comment Here

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    You know what I mean, I blame my slip on brain fog ;)
  12. justinreilly

    justinreilly Stop the IoM & P2P! Adopt CCC!

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    I just get a creepy feeling from listening to some of these guys (except for Racianello) like Alan Dove on the various episodes. The arrogance seems to just come across in their voices. One of the guys mentioned that town Sendai that just got "creamed." That wasn't too egregious, but it just seems like a wierd or flip way to talk about at town full of people being destroyed. They just seem a little too detached and 'above it all'.

    They were saying that the retroviruses from this paper were not pathogenic and it had gone unnoticed because they did not cause changes in the cell. You're saying that it is cytopathic for a short time; that's in the paper? They were saying that with vaccines there are better safeguards; that there are viruses including retroviruses are spread in vaccines but that they are harmless because there isn't any increase in disease picked up with aftermarket monitoring. Have no idea if this is really true.

    And why are they making retroviruses in the first place especially in only a level two containment?? As this shows, probably human error allowed the rv to survive and then spread. It seems like making new retroviruses should be banned especially in a relatively lax environment of level 2.
  13. justinreilly

    justinreilly Stop the IoM & P2P! Adopt CCC!

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    One of them said that viruses getting into vaccines could make them better. That sounds a little optimistic!

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