It just happened again. A reporter asked about the controversy of different findings. The moderator said "Maybe Dr. Monroe would like to speak to this."
Silence. Then, they threw it to Alter. After Alter's response, Monroe jumped in with some tail between the legs answer about the need to learn more about this disease in the future, which is why there is controversy.
Apparently he didn't convince himself because a couple minutes later after the topic had shifted in a different direction, he jumped back in to defend that the CDC was able to find an association btw XMRV and Prostate Cancer, so their detection methods must be adequate.
Not yet, they are still basically at a loss as why they are both having different results. Dr. Lo believes its because the virus is in such low quantities but he's not sure. Several studies, including the CDC, have looked for broad indications that other mLV's are present and they haven't found them. Why Alter was able to find them is still unclear.
I see the paper as a big step forward but more papers are needed and they are reportedly on the way. Basically they need to figure out is who is doing what wrong. They both referred to the DHHS Blood WOrking group to figure that out.
Rrrr, when you listen again...make sure you use the "7" key on your phone anytime you need to hear something again. It backs up the recording 30 seconds each time you push it (like TiVo!). I must have pushed that "7" button about 50 times!
Anyway, for others in the U.S. or Canada or whoever can call this 866 number...the call is definitely worth listening to, and I just tried it again at 6:15pm and confirmed that you can still start it at the beginning!
For those that can't call in now, hopefully they'll have the recording posted to the NIH website soon? I'm fried right now, but if possible I'll post some of my notes soon. My basic impressions are that Alter and Lo are taking this the most seriously, and there was major CYA going on from Monroe and some of the other members of the FDA group that are supposed to be verifying the blood safety.
The reporter questions were a frustratingly mixed bag of informed questions greeted with lukewarm/confusing answers and some really dumb questions that gave Monroe an easy out about the lingering "confusion." One of the most encouraging things I heard was this from Dr. Alter: He said he has another study of 1000 blood donors (with results expected soon) which can help demonstrate transfusion linkage (if any) and the impact on the current blood supply. He is doing this by testing frozen samples pre-transfusion to their blood currently.