I bet the profit margin on testing is not as good as many would think. This is not some highly automated test like a CBC and I'm sure it requires some special materials that are not currently available "off the shelf". Also the volume wont be that big at first. Many can't afford testing and others are waiting for more information about both XMRV and the tests themselves before committing. Right now we are talking about nickles and dimes compared to the megabucks that are needed.
Low profit margins? Maybe that is what they want you to think. I don't know about all the testing but my wife is a medical technologist and I know people involved in genetic testing, and the cost to the labs for most of these tests is peanuts. Just look online, some PCR tests are on the market around $200 in cost. I found one PCR for HIV for only $145 (http://www.aids.org/atn/a-060-07.html
). If tests are run at CLIA certified labs they will cost a little more. But if the tests are run at research facilities they may literally cost only a few dollars, plus any tech time, which is minimal. And many of these are automated and can be run overnight so there is little labor cost.
So why are the prices seemingly high? I don't know but the current tests being offered may be priced to help re-capture research costs, or as an attempt to fund-raise. That is capitalism, and the reason we need competition, even in something as seemingly charitable as testing for CFS. Hopefully WPI will really license their algorithms, or other labs will invent even better methods of XMRV testing and improve on what WPI has accomplished. And hopefully WPI will not try to block progress in this illness in the name of protecting their 'intellectual property', which happens so often in medical research. We need a whole industry of serious CFS research to solve this, more than WPI by themselves with their captive collaborators (such as VIP Dx). Who know where the next discovery or treatment will come from.
Not convinced? Here is the reality, if the goal of WPI or any other XMRV testing facility were really to help patients and get as much data out there quickly as possible we would see much, much lower prices out there right now.
Maybe WPI and others will come out with low-cost testing once they realize how poor we are, and many with no insurance. They will never earn big bucks from CFS patients, they need to go after grants to fund their center.
But for now they do appear to be playing the typical high-stakes medical research game that focuses on future payoff. Consider that due to the Science article, billions and billions of $$ are about to be earned on the backs of PWC, through retroviral drug sales. The ball is already rolling, this is very likely to to happen, and the interested players are already on the sidelines watching us, be certain of that.
Even if XMRV turns out to not be causal for CFS, that will take many years to establish, it is harder to prove something false than to create a hypothesis that might be true (which is all WPI has done). So prepare yourselves, the train is already moving.
Maybe some good will come of all this, and XMRV will really be causal and anti-retrovirals will help us. I think that scenario is low-odds but possible.
However, the more likely scenario in my view is that XMRV turns out to be just another co-factor and retrovirals will help only a little, or only for a short time, or maybe eventually harm us through the side-effects. But those who will make the billions in profits really will not worry about that, our suffering is their accepted risk to produce high profit margins.
Yes, likewise I'm not asking you or forcing you to do anything. Nevertheless, this board can use some dissenting opinion, unless you want to turn it into a blind support group for WPI. You don't agree, feel free to rebut or ignore.
OK, there you have it PoetINSF - a dissenting opinion of sorts, or at least a real-world viewpoint. I do appreciate what Dr Mikovitz discovered and am greatful for WPI's support of her idea. WPI does have a great and compelling presentation. But the evidence does suggest some conflicting interests and business as usual for medical research. That usually translates to much slower progress for the waiting patients. I guess that is what we should expect in the competitive CFS funding world. Maybe eventually when the government and medical communities really accept the truth of CFS funding will loosen and people like WPI will have an easier time being humanitarian.