Well, maybe -- reference 15 seems to imply that HIV can be found in the respiratory tract, even though it is not especially (at all?) transmittable through the air. The paper seems to raise the possibility, though, so even if airborne transmission isn't a risk, this will hopefully at least light a fire under the research.
Whether they used the exact method or not, they do indicate that "All samples were analyzed by culture". So they tried to grow whatever was in these people's mucus. Unlike the Dutch and UK CFS studies.
This seems to validate the majority of the Incline Village cases, which were not connected by bodily fluid transactions. Many of those cases (the schoolteachers spring to mind) seemed to be connected by air conditioning shafts and the like.
I think no one said other methods can't work - but people said that in order to show that there is no XMRV in, let's say, europe, you have to use a method that was proven to be able to find XMRV (to exaggerate: Let's say I tell you that if you spill cola on XMRV there would be a huge explosion, and you spill cola on blood samples of ME/CFS patients and nothing happens. Does that tell you that there is no XMRV in those ME/CFS patient's samples, or does that tell you that the method you used sucks?).
Now, regarding the finding here, it's very scary. My questions to the scientists here are:
1) if I sneeze or breath on someone, could I infect him?!
2) Did I understand correctly, that the authors say that HIV-1 is also found in respiratory secretions but it cannot infect people (I've heard that you need to transsmit 3 liters, or something like that, of saliva in order to infect someone with HIV with your saliva)? And, especially since XMRV is a simple retrovirus, what is the chance that even if it's in the respiratory secretions it would not infect people?
That's a good finding and it's also good that it was found in Germany, because it might put an end to the "not in europe" argument about XMRV. But it's also a very scary finding.
My fear is that if I would be found to have XMRV I wouldn't be able to even get close to people, not to mention kissing, having sex etc.
This is the final accepted version of the manuscript. This was prepared in a word processor. It is currently undergoing page layout for publication in the June issue of the journal. The content in the final version for publication will be identical, but it will look prettier.