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Another CFS theory bites the dust
Tuesday 21 June 2011
THE link between chronic fatigue syndrome and a bloodborne retrovirus has “turned out to be a furphy”, an expert says, with laboratory contamination apparently to blame for the finding.
The editors of Science, which published the original research in 2009 linking CFS to xenotropic murine leukaemia virus-related virus (XMRV), have now published an “editorial expression of concern” criticising the study.
The editors said the validity of the research was “seriously in question” and have reportedly asked its authors to retract it.
The study found that XMRV was present in the blood of almost 70% of people with CFS, compared to 4% of controls.
However, a string of other studies have failed to replicate the findings, including two papers in Science this month suggesting the original findings resulted from laboratory contamination.
Professor Andrew Lloyd, an infectious diseases expert at the University of NSW, said the link between XMRV and CFS was now “95% quashed”.
“Once or twice a year there’s this notion of a miracle cure, that a cause has been found, and generally it’s turned out to be a furphy,” he said.
Dr Nicole Phillips, medical advisor to ME/CFS Australia (Victoria), said the initial study had triggered many CFS patients to request antiretroviral drugs.
“At this point in time, there is absolutely no appropriate medical reason to treat CFS patients with these potent drugs,” she said.
Science 2011; online.
The above, with comments, originally appeared here.
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