Bad science fails to cast doubt on XMRV research
Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence – those speculating on the failed XMRV
studies and claiming they cast doubt on the Science paper should understand the
difference between exact replication studies and 'quick and dirty'
approximation studies that did not replicate the exacting protocols employed by
the Whittemore Peterson Institute, National Cancer Institute and Cleveland
Information from the Science paper discloses the very strict criteria and additional tests
used to characterise severely affected neuro-immune "CFS" patients, while the
approximation studies used loose "chronic fatigue" criteria that were
influenced by psychiatrists and fail to distinguish between neurologically
impaired patients and those suffering chronic fatigue from a variety of causes.
These approximation studies only prove the failure to use precise scientific
replication methodology and therefore have no bearing on the status of XMRV
infection in "CFS" patients and the 4% positive population controls. The Science
paper stands and ongoing scientific research is being conducted to replicate
the findings and clarify the relationship between XMRV and human disease.
The Department of Health and Human Services is conducting studies on the prevalence of XMRV in the blood donor population and whether it is transmitted by blood transfusion, WPI is conducting a study on blood transfusion recipients, and the National Cancer Institute is studying models of mouse retroviruses that cause cancer and neurological disease, and potential anti-XMRV treatments. Furthermore Prof. Malcolm Hooper's press release "Magical Medicine", his formal complaint to the Minister for Science overseeing the MRC and letter to the Chairman of NICE, including a 442 page report of an extensive and fully referenced review of the literature on ME - which casts serious doubts about the psychogenic model of 'CFS/ME' filtered to the media - have significant medico-legal consequences.