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XMRV GLOBAL ACTION
XMRV Global Action's
Transcription of Sam
Shad's interview with
and Dr Mikovits on
By XMRV Global Action
Thursday, 23 december 2010
Ready for some good news?
Here is our early Christmas gift from XMRV Global
Renewed HOPE from Nevada Newsmakers and the
Below is our "Close" transcription of the Nevada
NewsMakers TV interview with Sam Shad, Annette
Whittemore and Dr Judy Mikovits, December 22,
The Retrovirology Contamination papers;
medical politics; "All Systems still at Go"
@ the WPI & their collaborators; and *patients,
don't panic - this continues to be a time of great
NB: If you're pressed for time, jump to the end of
this post for the key, optimistic messages from
Sam, Annette, and Judy, bolded and in quotes.
Several options for downloading/viewing here:
Interview starts around 3:00 minutes.
Sam: Annette, can we just start out with a brief
simple explanation of what neuro-immune diseases
are, including ME and CFS?
Annette: They are systemic diseases that impact
the nervous system and immune system. ME/CFS is
a very, very complex disease and we believe that it
is infectious, that there are very many organisms
involved, and that it will require a comprehensive set
of treatments to bring about (clinical) change.
Sam: The retrovirus XMRV that has showed up in
research was found to be in a majority of folks not
only suffering with ME/CFS but also prostate cancer.
What has been the result in terms of the worldwide
reaction to this?
Judy: We have had a very exciting year, interactions
with Norway, Spain, Belgium. Different groups
throughout the US, in the US in the SE and NE. Many
groups are into the research, excited about the
research, and actually detecting XMRV in their
Sam: 4 papers were published this week in the
journal Retrovirology and according to the WSJ it
demonstrated according to the authors how easy it
could be for mouse contamination to skew results on
XMRV. Thoughts on Retrovirology papers?
Judy: We've shown in the paper that we published
last year, and in a confirmation study by Harvey Alter
and Dr Lo at the FDA that it's necessary to do
multiple different kinds of tests, and one single test
(PCR) won't give you clear detection of XMRV. And
because XMRV is so closely related to some mouse
viruses, it's very important not to do work in mouse
lab, and to actually isolate the virus and show an
immune response to the virus. We were well aware
that it is possible to potentially skew results (with
contamination). And hence multiple tests required.
Sam: Were you surprised at the response to these
Annette: I was. I thought it was a well concerted
effort by this group to make sure that everyone knew
about it prior to our being able to have a response.
We weren't notified about it and given the
opportunity to respond. … We want to thank you for
this opportunity to respond and pretty much calm
everyone down. It really doesn't change the findings
(of XMRV in ME/CFS). It doesn't change the work
that we've done whatsoever. And that we're moving
forward in very positive way.
Sam: What do u think the motivation was, that they
didn't contact you, as you were the prime research
Judy: It's difficult to comment on the motivation of
others. It is an attempt to make certain that the
patients maybe aren't served, and that XMRV is not
important. I think there is great fear about the
public health risk of this virus in this disease and
Sam: Would you explain that more deeply.
Judy: If our results and the confirmatory results
hold true, as many as 20 million Americans could be
infected with a new human retrovirus of uncertain
pathogenic potential. That means you don't have to
get sick, but you might. And that's 20 M Americans,
and that's 20x the amt of HIV that was in this
country in the height of the HIV epidemic in 1995.
So there is great concern about public health. And
that's why everything that gets published about
XMRV gets great attention each time.
Sam: One of the easiest ways to understand this
retrovirus is AIDS, correct?
Annette: That's a good example, and the other one
is HTLV1 – certainly looking at those viruses we can
learn something, and we can learn how they
integrate and so forth. . But this (XMRV/MRV's) is a
brand new family (of human retroviruses). But
there's a lot to be learned, and before we make any
clear statements we want to do the good hard
research. I am very proud of our group, and the fact
that they didn't take their first results and simply go
with those, but looked long and hard at this, and
used 4 methods to be absolutely sure they knew
what they found.
Sam: Whenever there's a discovery like this, and
this is a huge discovery, there will always be a huge
fight in the medical community when you have these
kinds of changes.
Judy: Absolutely. It is a huge discovery. And as I
said, of potential public health high significance. So
it will always be a level of understanding – we have
to learn how to detect the virus. There is a lot to be
learned. There will always be a lot of push-back.
The best science generates more questions than
answers, and that's certainly what's happened here.
Continued at 11:08
Sam: Your research is published in the past year
that the reasons that other scientists have trouble
recreating the results is that they are not doing the
research in the same way. Why? That just seems to
be illogical. Why are they not doing the research in
the same way?
Judy: Scientists usually do things that they do well,
and the advances that we've had in the past decade,
that is in molecular testing, high throughput, with an
instrument to measure is it (the virus) there or not,
have really replaced the old fashioned way of
culturing. It's very difficult to culture virus, do
antibody testing which we've done, and it takes a lot
of time and significant resources. It's the hope and
perhaps bias of other researchers that since we can
detect HIV with these nucleic acid testing (fast
throughput), we should be able to do so with XMRV.
But it's too early in the discovery process for XMRV.
So we have to do the very labor intensive isolation of
the virus from patients and it's very difficult.
Annette: I wanted to make another comment and I
think it got glossed over in these last
(contamination) papers. But really what you're
talking about is researchers at the NIH that have
done this work, the Cleveland Clinic, the U of Utah,
Cornell University, (the FDA), and WPI. So there are
others that are very successful at this and are
moving their research forward as well. So we're lucky
to have those significant groups of researchers
working on this.
Sam: What's the role of politics in all of this
Annette: Laughs… there is certainly a lot of politics
in medicine. I think whenever there's money,
prestige, power, change, there's going to be a lot of
interest. Certainly in this case, there is a lot of
money involved. Pharma, disability companies,
insurance companies, government run health care
systems. And they all have a stake in this. It's
going to create a massive change in the way things
are done and the way these people are treated. And
it's going to cost. So the pushcback right now can be
related to political issues.
Sam: Blood supply around the world. People are
giving blood, and they are not being tested for this
Judy: Blood donors are not being tested because we
have not been able to develop the high throughput
tests yet. We've been working with NHLBI and
various Blood Working group that was set up the day
our paper was published last year, and we had a very
successful meeting (BP Advisory Council) last week,
and it was voted on last week that there was enough
concern and enough data to suggest that CFS
patients NOT give blood.
So until we can learn more, a question is asked, and
if you have ever had CFS, you are not permitted to
give blood. So in light of new discoveries we are
erring on the side of caution and working very hard
to develop those (high throughput) tests.
Sam: People CAN get tested now for XMRV?
Annette: Yes. The clinical lab is called VIPDx.
Ours is a research lab at WPI, but the clinical WPI
lab is getting ready to open but we're not yet set
up. But VIPDx is the current lab, and if a physician
requests that test (for XMRV), they will get that
test. Can go to VIPDx website to learn more.
Judy: And we culture virus, and determine if the
patient has an antibody to the virus, and that is the
Gold Standard assay. Culture test can take 45 days,
but we're not in a hurry. The key is to get the
Sam: How is the new institute?
Annette: Very excited. We're up and running.
We've been working closely with physician this past
week to set up medical practice. Meanwhile getting
instrumentation up and running in research lab has
taken some time. All going smoothly now. We're
very excited. Anyone that wants to come by can
come by and see what's happening there. We're very
very proud of it. We're very excited to have all of
the pieces in one home.
I guess bottom line from this entire discussion
today is for people not to panic. Things are still
moving forward. Nothing has changed – it's just
that there are simply different opinions.
As one would expect (that there would be
different opinions). And this is really a great time
of HOPE. Because we've also determined in our
research this year - and that will be coming out
published very soon - we're understanding WHY
the (XMRV) virus hurts the immune system.
We're understanding what's going wrong to make
you sick, and that's another step to making people
well. So it's a great time of excitement and
research around the world. We expect treatments next year (2011).
2011. Can't wait!
Ends @ approx 17:30
Yeah, can't wait for 2011!