i agree with all your points. i am just trying to see if there is any even remote chance of a screw up here, and it's hard to find.
I don't think there's anything wrong at all with keeping looking out for it, and trying to keep an open mind, I try really hard to be honest about it but I just can't make sense of the sceptical arguments. They all just seem to boil down to no more than "Oh no it isn't!" at the end of the day.
Yet no matter how many times I go over and over that same ground and conclude "no, there's just no way", nevertheless the nagging doubts keep coming back. Very frustrating. For me, it's testament to the power of a whisper campaign: repeat something often enough, stick to those guns, keep slinging the mud, keep denying it's all true, come across confident and knowledgeable, and that drip-drip-drip effect just keeps putting those doubts in people's minds.
on the other hand, i have to say, as a lay person, it is also confusing how supposedly reputable research scientists don't know which test tubes to use (e.g. not heparin).
The failure by so many groups to detect anything at all has to be in the sample preparation I think; it can't just be in the PCR methodology. Numerous arguments show that to be the case, most recently the Swedish study. There has got to be something novel about XMRV in relation to the storage tubes, and I'm hoping that when that's explained it will reveal something very useful about XMRV. There's already a thread with somebody trying heparin injections as a therapy, for example...that has a certain logic to it...
Even on the other hand, as Dr Yes and I have both mentioned, there are several reasons why any contamination has to be in the drawing, storage and preparation of the samples. Lab contamination theories just don't fit the evidence. Weiss' idea that the patient samples may have been more frequently handled is the closest to a rational explanation I've heard, but it's speculation and he admits himself it's not a satisfactory explanation; it remains a mystery even regarding studies that "came to nothing" in the past.
and i don't think poor patient selection can explain it all, as u have to figure even the cdc picked some pwc's and should have found at least 1 positive.
It's very possible that our natural assumption that we know nothing, really, about CFS, and that all the diagnostic criteria are vague, and that the whole phenomenon of ME/CFS is vague and ill-defined and probably not a well-defined criteria...all of those assumptions actually could be wrong! It's quite possible that we understand rather more than we think. And even if CFS is complex and made up of distinct clusters, that doesn't mean there is no common factor as well. It's well worth reflecting on this and trying to imagine how this really could be true, that we all of us have XMRV, as do many others with neurological conditions, but that different clusters have other things going on as well. It seems amazing, but it really could be true IMO.
To illustrate how this can be the case, note that ME/CFS is itself merely one particularly well-defined "tip of an iceberg" of lots of similar immune and neurological conditions of unknown cause. GWI, MCS, FM, IBS, MS, autism, rising rates of allergies, and indeed mental illnesses in general...all of these are remaining medical mysteries and are related conditions with unknown causes. So: ill-defined as ME/CFS may be, those who have actually obtained an official diagnosis are doing pretty well! My only official "diagnosis" is "ideopathic immune dysfunction", for example (and MCS via others), even though I did fit the Fukuda criteria once upon a time. So from the wider perspective, ME/CFS can itself be seen as a fairly tight subset of something much, much wider: modern, ideopathic neuro and immune dysfunctions. Within the ME/CFS world, it all feels fairly diverse and ill-defined - but perhaps that's just because it really is a condition with a lot of variability (this must be true, or there are 50 or so similar patterns of symptomology with masses of overlap but 50 different causes! That would be even weirder when you think about it...surely all this has to have some common factors?).
With regards the CDC study, there was one little intriguing detail: Lo/Alter found very small suggestive traces of MLRs in about 10% of the CDC samples they tested. Now that could be the last faint surviving traces of the MLR+ samples from the general population, which are supposed to be there at around 10%. That would mean: they had no "real ME" patients at all in their cohort, and in addition, their preparation methodology all but destroyed the evidence of the background infection as well. For me, there is a consistent picture emerging which can explain all the results...and one has to be looking for that, if one's looking for the truth...well, that picture can be constructed, there is not much that is confusing me these days, I can't think of any anomalous results that don't fit the explanation I've sketched.
either way, i think our answers will come within a few months, and i think the wpi/nih/cc/fda will be vindicated.
Still, I find myself saying, yet again, that we are surely, surely only a few months away from the decisive moment...so I hope I'm right this time!