The claim there is no association between XMRV and CFS at this point in time, as made in the press release was a HIGHLY irresponsible, unethical, unscientific and asburd comment to make and propagate throughout the media, especially bearing in mind the media's tendency to swallow uncritically proclaimations from agencies claiming authority such as The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. It should be retracted and a clarification as to why should be made by the Institute. At least one responsible scientist, to his credit, has retracted initial, similar, unwise comments. The authors of the Press release should do the same.
I've signed (no. 40 something) a bit late due to festivity overload. Sometimes my brain just short-circuits. Hasten to add, not due to alcohol (I do miss how a tipple used to make me feel) but just taking on all those people, love them loads.
This is about the Wellcome Trust's inaccurate press release, that caused so much damage last week, and led to wrong "ME/CFS not caused by XMRV" headlines last week.
The Wellcome press release was not backed up by the Retrovirology papers, which only said there might be contamination issues in the positive studies, and they considered it possible that XMRV was a lab contaminant. That was bad enough, and there are many holes in the Retrovirology studies, published on Monday 20th December, but these guys took a questionable possibility and transformed it into a "fact" - not.
This has some relevance for the situation the ME/CFS community find themselves in with 'scientists', though it doesn't address all problems. At the moment, many scientists appear to believe they are not answerable to the public, that they have authority of intellect over the public, and that no lay-person has anything important to tell them, and that 'science' is a self-correcting logical system unaffected by social structures. This is absurd, is a massive fallacy of appeal to authority, and of course our situation is exemplary of this problem. It's going to have to be thrashed out eventually I think.
Everyone really should sign this. That press release and the media blitz that followed could do SERIOUS damage in terms of scientific interest, funding and policy support. It should have thousands of signatures.
Sign and add a comment. These petitions have little value on their own, but the more people that express their opinion on the petition, the more interesting it may be for third parties to look at. In my personal opinion a rational comment limiting itself to the faults of what is actually "in print" - the press release and the comments to the press and how those are not supported by the published research - is most effective.
You don't have to be an XMRV "true believer" or to have any strong opinion about XMRV at all to agree that issuing this press release was a highly irresponsible act, and serves only to misinform the public about where the body of research on this subject currently stands.
Does anyone actually know who started this petition? And what the plans are for making the Wellcome Trust aware of it? I think it's an excellent petition, and I've signed it myself and encouraged many others to do so, but I'd like to know what the follow-up plans are.
BTW, the Wellcome press release made some new trouble today, but take a look at the comments below the article here that have lead the journal to post
deSciner Editors 2 hours ago
Thank you for your comments. Indeed we are aware of the reports that seem to contradict this particular conclusion and indeed we will contact the Wellcome Trust and ask them to comment on this. Keep your views coming in so that we can ask them to respond. We will be following up this story very closely.