Thanks for covering the story, Mindy. I just left a comment.
There's some stuff in the comments section attacking Dr Singh. Dr Singh may well look at those comments. We need good scientists like her. I hope lots of people will leave a message supporting her. We can't afford to let a vocal minority who see every negative XMRV study as evidence that the scientist who did it is being manipulated by money or politics, drive good scientists like Dr Singh away.
so why wouldnt xmrv be a contaminant in prostate cancer then??? Im confused and everything does sound right??????????
Ok, so please prove you can find it in the blood of the XMRV positive healthy controls from your prostate cancer study. And even that would not prove you were able to find it in ME/CFS as our bodies might deal with the infection differently. But it would be a first good step.Singh: The original study by Mikovits' group reported finding XMRV only from blood. They did not examine other tissues. So blood is where the focus should be. Now if one found it in blood, then of course you'd be interested in finding out where else the virus is. And then it would be interesting to look at tissues. But looking at tissues is not trivial and not something to be attempted without good evidence of the virus being present in the body first.
Ok, so please prove you can find it in the blood of the XMRV positive healthy controls from your prostate cancer study. And even that would not prove you were able to find it in ME/CFS as our bodies might deal with the infection differently. But it would be a first good step.
She's saying that the only reason we think there's a link between XMRV and CFS is because it was reported that XMRV could be found in the blood of CFS patients. If that's not the case, then there's no particular reason to believe it's likely to be in the tissue of patients. Unless you think XMRV is being found in the blood of CFS patients, there would be no particular reason to go hunting through the tissue of CFS patients for XMRV.
I agree with that (Esther's post, i didn't see you posted in the meantime, Insearchof). But given all the errors we have seen up to now, even if those are very capable people, i don't feel very comfortable about that.
I agree with your analysis of her comment. The focus on the positive studies - published to date - have been serology based. No one expected her to depart from that focus.
I dont agree however with her reasoning or logic as to why we should not go looking for it in the tissues.
Her reasoning ( no reason to persue tissue studies) is based on the assumption - that her own study (and other negative studies) is water tight and puts the matter to bed. Yet this is not the case. In respect of her own study on CFS, when questioned about strange seemingly irreconcilable results with her previous findings in XMRV, she cannot provide an adequate explanation. In fact, she states she remains uncertain.
Her reasoning is - I could not find it in blood and others have not been able to - so therefore there is no evidence of it in the body and therefore no reason to explore the matter further.
The monkey study aside, it is well known - that virema diminishes quickly after infectious onset and can go to the tissues.
Virologists understand and fully acknowledge the limitations of serology based testing and for this reason, they will test and re test patients over the course of their illness. Enteroviruses, EBV and other HHVs are a few that I know of, which have this problem. When it comes to viruses there are often limitations associated with detecting virema in the blood.
Why isnt this being acknowledged?
Scientists know this - and in acknowledging that symptoms are consistent with the virus they are hunting for - they start to look for evidence of it elsewhere - in the tissuse.
Take the work of John Chia (and some others) with enteroviruses.
For years it was thought that it was not possible to have a prolonged enteroviral infection that could be contributing to symptoms commonly see in ME. The rationale was, that there was no evidence of its presence in serology after a period of time (therefore no evidence that it existed in the body) and that gastric secretions in the stomach would render it impossible for it to survive there (which is where it thrives).
Chia showed recently that this was false and highlighted once again, the limitations associated with virema in blood. He found it in the stomach tissues and repeatedly with patients over a number of years.
But John Chia knew about the nature of viruses and the limitations of serology - because he was an infectious diseases specialist.
Had Chia (and others) accepted the premise now being suggested by Singh - this would never have come to light and science would not progress to learning more in the hopes of finding a cure.
If Singh was sincere, she should have said her study did not find it in the blood but that did not mean that it might not be elsewhere - especially given the monkey study, that she had found XMRV in tissue (albeit in another patient group) and given general science regarding limitations of serology in detecting viruses well after infectious onset.
This is why I am troubled by Singh.
If others were to accept Singhs limited and blinkered approach to science on this point, it would not progress very far.