BMJ: News - CFS is not caused by XMRV virus, study shows (What???)

CBS

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I'm posting this in the section on XMRV media as it is not a study, just a rehash of the four articles that announced to the world that (News flash!) PCR is subject to contamination. The important bit here is that the British Medical Journal is now touting this extreme interpretation of those articles as "News."

The way this is presented speaks for itself.

I wonder what J. Coffin is thinking about his "colleagues" now. His name is getting dragged through the mud in the name of furthering an agenda that has nothing to do with science.

Don't think for a moment that we weren't the targets of a very concerted "drive by" this week and its starting to look like Coffin was the unknowing stooge (I sincerely hope) doing the driving.

A Very Merry Christmas to you too BMJ!

Chronic fatigue syndrome is not caused by XMRV virus, study shows


+ Author Affiliations

  • 1London

The XMRV virus, which has been implicated as a possible cause of chronic fatigue syndrome, is not the cause of the disease, an overview of four research papers has concluded.
The new findings, from researchers at University College London, the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, and the University of Oxford, show that cell samples used in previous research were contaminated with mouse DNA and that this was the source of the XMRV (xenotropic murine leukaemia virus-related virus). The papers are all open access and are available at www.retrovirology.com/.
The virus was first linked to chronic fatigue syndrome in a study published in Science in October 2009 (2009:326;585-9, doi:10.1126/science.1179052), which found that blood samples from patients with the syndrome carried traces of the XMRV virus.
The author of one of the studies, Greg Towers, a Wellcome Trust senior research fellow at University College London, said, Our conclusion is quite simple: XMRV is not the cause of chronic fatigue syndrome.
It is vital to understand that we are not saying chronic fatigue syndrome does not have a virus causewe cannot answer that yetbut we know it is not this virus causing it.
Professor Towers and his colleagues say that more rigorous methods are needed to prevent contamination of cell and DNA samples and that more consistent standards are required for identifying viruses and other organisms as the cause of a disease.
Paul Kellam, a coauthor and virus genomics group leader at the Sanger Institute, explained, Increasingly we are using DNA based methods to accelerate our understanding of the role of pathogens in disease. These will drive our understanding of infection, but we must ensure that we close the circle from identification to association and then causation.
The strongest lesson is that we must fully use robust guidelines and discriminatory methods to ascribe a cause to a disease.
Reacting to the findings, Anthony Cleare, reader in affective disorders at the Institute of Psychiatry of Kings College London, said, The original paper linking infection with the XMRV virus with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) received widespread publicity. However, if this latest paper is correct, and XMRV is a laboratory contaminant rather than a virus that infects humans, it could explain why later studies have not confirmed any link between XMRV and CFS. Patients with CFS need much more certainty before accepting a link between XMRV and their illness.
Tim Peto, consultant in infectious diseases at the University of Oxford, said, It came as a great surprise when XMRV was first suggested as being linked to chronic fatigue syndrome, and it was imperative that further tests be done to see if the findings could be repeated.
There have now been a number of attempts which have failed to find the retrovirus in other samples, and this research suggests that in fact XMRV is probably a contamination from mouse DNA. These latest findings add to the evidence, and it now seems really very, very unlikely that XMRV is linked to chronic fatigue syndrome.
A spokesman for the ME (myalgic encephalopathy) Association said that the organisation was keeping an open mind. He said, Whether this study kills the theory that there is a close link between XMRV and chronic fatigue syndrome stone dead we just dont know at this stage. There are still a large number of very serious investigations being carried out into this retrovirus, and the next set of results may show something completely different.
Notes

Cite this as: BMJ2010;341:c7358 doi:10.1136/bmj.c7358 (Published 22 December 2010)
 

maryb

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Isn't the UK just too fast at publishing stuff that is anti any viral/XMRV link to ME. I don't hold with conspiracy theories but if a whole bunch of top med bods haven't got together on this then I'm an alien, it stinks to high heaven.
 

Enid

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Suggest they all keep up to date - if I can so can they. Four years ago in A&E classed psychiatric. Come on you lot. We carry so much ignorance here. Believe or not rather saner than those at the end of my bed.
 

Esther12

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It's irritating how those who were talking about the need for scepticism and replication with the initial XMRV results are now so happy to throw caution to the wind with work that claims to refute it. I'm sceptical of those Skeptics whose scepticism seems one-sided.

I'm not sure if it's a good idea to get too worked up about it though. If XMRV works out, we'll be able to really go on that attack, but if not then it's probably better to have not made too much of a thing about it.

I've forgotten who it was who pointed out the hilarity of this statement, but I've got to pull it out again:

“The strongest lesson is that we must fully use robust guidelines and discriminatory methods to ascribe a cause to a disease.”
Reacting to the findings, Anthony Cleare, reader in affective disorders at the Institute of Psychiatry of King’s College London, said, “The original paper linking infection with the XMRV virus with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) received widespread publicity. However, if this latest paper is correct, and XMRV is a laboratory contaminant rather than a virus that infects humans, it could explain why later studies have not confirmed any link between XMRV and CFS. Patients with CFS need much more certainty before accepting a link between XMRV and their illness.”
 

lancelot

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Links to the headlines

ME 'virus' was actually a lab mistake, study says. The Independent, December 21 2010

Scientists conclude mouse virus does not cause ME. The Guardian, December 21 2010

ME 'not caused by the XMRV virus'. BBC News, December 21 2010
Links to the science

Hue S, Gray ER, Gall A et al. Disease-associated XMRV sequences are consistent with laboratory contamination. Retrovirology, 2010, 7:111

:In bed:
 

eric_s

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The new findings, from researchers at University College London, the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, and the University of Oxford, show that cell samples used in previous research were contaminated with mouse DNA and that this was the source of the XMRV (xenotropic murine leukaemia virus-related virus).
This is just not true, or is it??

The Hue et al. study concluded that certain primes also amplify certain MLVs and that the XMRV produced by a cell line was ancestral to the XMRV found by Lombardi et al. and Urisman et al. that they looked at (which was a small selection, if i'm not mistaken).

I'm not sure that this means those positive results came from mouse DNA and i'm even less sure it allows such a conclusion for "the cell samples used in previous research", which is a very general description.

Plus i would not use the word "show". "Led to the conclusion" or something like that would have been more correct. I think this article is getting quite close or has crossed the line that the law draws. If i were the author of "previous research" i would consider sueing them.

But maybe it's better to make a strong rebuttal ant not attack a journal.

Seems like a good part of the UK's medical system would best be shut down. And then start again with new people... horrible.

I agree with what lancelot said some days ago. It's war. Publishing this on christmas was too much. I don't understand why they are doing what they are doing but this is simply evil. Bring me their heads on a plate :eek: (Not really, even though it felt good to say it. But give them a good kick in the n..s)

And i really don't get why Coffin seems to have such a strong british connection. The quality of british science so far was not vey impressive. So why? I don't mistrust him, even though i don't like the part he has been playing so far very much. But i would like to know why this is.

Edit: I did not refer to the discussion between Lancelot and some others on another thread, i was not aware of that discussion. I agree with Lancelot on calling this war. We need to get to the point where we can prove those theories wrong as quickly as possible and then i hope those people will be held responsible in one way or the other. I have no more respect for the BBC or BMJ.

Oh... and Merry Christmas to everybody ;)