No Chronic Fatigue Syndrome-XMRV Virus Link

by Trilok Kapur on  January 8, 2010 at 12:37 PM Research News
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 No Chronic Fatigue Syndrome-XMRV Virus Link
A doubt has been cast on the theory that chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), or myalgic encephalomyelitis(ME), may be linked to a recently discovered virus, by British scientists.

Last October, a team of US experts published research indicating that the debilitating condition, also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), can be triggered by a virus, called XMRV.

The study published in the journal Science linked cases of CFS with the recently discovered virus.

But now researchers from Imperial College London and King's College London have conducted a new study, which shows no evidence of XMRV playing a role in CFS.

The team analysed tissue samples from 186 patients with the condition using sensitive molecular testing techniques. No molecular evidence of XMRV was found in any of the samples tested.

The scientists say anti-retroviral drugs should not be given to people with CFS as they are unlikely to be effective.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome affects an estimated three in 1,000 members of the population, producing severe physical and mental tiredness that is not alleviated by rest. Other symptoms include muscle pain, headaches, joint pain and depression.

Although the condition is now recognised as a genuine and not imagined disorder, its cause remains a mystery.

"Our research was carried out under rigorous conditions - we looked at samples from well-studied patients, and we used very sensitive testing methods to look for the virus. If it had been there, we would have found it. The lab in which we carried out the analysis had never housed any of the murine (mouse/rat) leukaemia viruses related to XMRV, and we took great care to ensure there was no contamination. We are confident that our results show there is no link between XMRV and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, at least in the UK," Professor Myra McClure, from Imperial College London, one of the authors of the new study, said.

The new UK research has been published in PLoS ONE.

Source: ANI

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Dr Wessely has connections to a multinational health insurer so any discoveries will effect that company’s current policy internationally which is not to pay out on psychological conditions. He is also on the board of a company who sell CBT and GET to England’s national health.
I am not saying whether McClure’s study has been gamed or not but in my books some things she is quoted as saying in the media destroy her credibility.
She made a big deal out of emphasizing that the laboratory their samples were tested in have never housed any of the murine leukemia viruses and that they were certain their samples were not contaminated.
She had no reason to defend her study results for contamination because they found nothing. The only possible reason for her to say this was to imply that the WPI study was a result of contamination.
She must know that if this were the case then the approx. 200 healthy controls WPI tested would have has similar numbers of positive results to the 100 CFS/ME patients but instead the results were markedly different. 67% versus 3.7% of controls positive for XMRV. Just as well they did a lot of controls because this bolsters their results. I watched a video of presentations at the CFSAC conference where retrovirologist of 40 years Dr John Coffin said the possibility that these results were caused by contamination were very very remote.
Why does Dr McClure make deliberately misleading statements, which are completely unnecessary. She doesn’t even need to mention contamination as she found nothing. No matter what she says she was implying that the WPI study was contaminated and she must know its unlikely.
I don't know which study is right but I don't trust McClure or Wesselly. Why did they need to do a study before everyone else then make misleading statements. Its usually impossible to get funding for any research for ME but they got their funding really quick and made sure they got the jump on any further studies to come. I am suspicious.

One of the co-authors of this study, Simon Wessely, has a vested interest in the outcome of such virus studies. Simon has staked his entire academic career on the idea that neurological diseases like chronic fatigue syndrome are caused by purely psychological factors.

Therefore Simon Wessely would be the last person you would want in a study like this: if he finds the virus in CFS patients, he shoots himself in the foot, and his career may never recover. So I wonder just how hard he looked for this XMRV virus.


Simon Wessely and company often use a different set of criteria to select the patients for their "CFS" studies (such as the Oxford Criteria). These selection criteria are set up so as to include lots of people that are just depressed, and do not have CFS at all.

As a consequence, it is not surprising many studies, based on the Oxford Criteria or similar, find that patients do not have XMRV, or can be cured by antidepressants: they studied the wrong people.

In other words, when Simon Wessely says "CFS", he actually is talking about "depression". Wessely loves to play language games, and frequently bends the definition of terms. You would be surprised how easily this fools people.

The original XMRV research at the Whittemore Peterson Institute used the Canadian Consensus definition of CFS/ME. The advantage of these inclusion criteria is that they actually do select CFS patients.
The odd thing is, the authors declared in this study that they have no competing interests: not true! It is very much in the interest of Simon Wessely to not find this XMRV virus.

We hope we can get Mr.Simon Wessely's comments on what you have your written

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