UK Study Reveals Negative XMRV Test Results in ME/CFS Patients

The CFIDS Association announced today that a recent study done in the United Kingdom revealed that XMRV infection results were negative in their study participants.   This report is published on the online journal PLoS ONEFailure to Detect the Novel Retrovirus XMRV in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.   Suzanne Vernon, the CFIDS Association’s Scientific Director shared her thoughts on this study:

The PLoS ONE paper by Otto Erlwein, Steve Kaye, Myra O. McClure, Jonathan Weber, Gillian Wills, David Collier, Simon Wessely and Anthony Cleare is titled, “Failure to Detect the Novel Retrovirus XMRV in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.” The investigators tested peripheral blood DNA from 186 routine clinic attendees who met 1994 (Fukuda) CFS case definition criteria and were well-characterized from participation in prior neuroendocrine and cognitive behavioral therapy studies. These 186 CFS patients were reported to be unwell for a median of four years with high levels of fatigue and disability. 

This team of researchers used a special type of DNA “xeroxing” called nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR) reaction to amplify specific segments of the XMRV proviral DNA from the genomic DNA obtained from these 186 CFS subjects. In essence, they were looking to see if XMRV genetic material had integrated into human genetic material, which is a key characteristic of retroviral infection. The experiment included positive, negative and contamination controls, but did not test any samples taken from healthy subjects. The samples were coded so that the origin of the DNA was not known to the person conducting the PCR assays. XMRV was not detected in any of the 186 samples.

Can this study be considered comparable to the results published by Lombardi et al., in Science? In short, no. Both studies included CFS patients defined by the 1994 case definition criteria, but this is where the comparability ends. Here are some of the ways the PLoS ONE and Science methods differ: 

  • The blood was collected from CFS patients in different types of blood collection tubes. 
  • The genomic DNA was extracted and purified using different techniques. 
  • The amount of genomic DNA included in the amplification assay was different. 
  • Different primer sequences were used that amplified different regions of the XMRV proviral DNA. 
  • The conditions of the PCR amplification assay were different from the numbers of cycles, to the type of polymerase used. 

Should these differences affect an investigator’s ability to detect XMRV? To a microbiologist with experience handling samples and studying various infectious agents (as I am), these variances in procedure could make the difference between detecting XMRV or not.

It very well could be true that XMRV is not present in the U.K. as Erlwein, et al. suggest in their discussion, but it is also possible that the technique used in the PLoS ONE paper was suboptimal due to the different methods employed, when compared to the original experiments conducted by Lombardi, et al. 

According to Dr. Vernon, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services group dedicated to XMRV is conducting a “rigorous study” to detect XMRV.  Dr. Vernon says about this study:

Multiple laboratories will standardize methods to optimize sensitive detection of XMRV proviral DNA and viral RNA and then, once methods are standardized, these same laboratories will test coded panels of blood samples obtained from healthy blood donors and CFS patients. We look forward to the results of this study and urge that it be completed expeditiously, especially in light of this report from the U.K. In the meantime, be prepared to read about more studies with conflicting findings. Rather than simply accept or dismiss new information, we will help make sense of why discrepant results occur.

I think before we get discouraged over the U.K. results, we need to realize that the United Kingdom is very unsupportive of ME/CFS patients.  The physicians and medical community there are with their beliefs where the U.S. was 20 plus years ago on ME/CFS.  Also, Dr. Vernon points out that this study was not a replication of the landmark study by Whittemore-Peterson researchers reported in October.  

Also, the U.K. study was put together very quickly and conducted in such a short timeframe it leaves me wondering how reliable it really can be.  I’m not getting discouraged and I am not putting a lot of stock in what this research has to say.  Let me know your thoughts.

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Comments

  1. aidan walsh says:

    they talk about xmrv being only in north america. i have never ever heard something so ridiculous in all my life. let us put that theory to the test and run my blood for xmrv. i got sick in montreal in 1990 not long after a vaccine. let us see now if my infection is a north american infection. it is very possible that their detections are not sensitive enough or as anything with this illness is a total puff of smoke.total denial is what their business is on their illegal biological testing programs.i can recall years back on american national t.v. when former president clinton’s apology to the black people given syphlis to see how the disease progressed and were only interested in their files,they are now doing the same to us now. i guess a lot of you forgot when garth nicolson came out and said a peice of the aids virus was found inside mycoplasma. truly all of us should really wake up and demand that the likes of peter white and that other lunatic should be locked up on criminal charges from the c.d.c. they tell us we do not exist and no infections but they say do not donate blood.people should go out and donate blood every week with this, maybe that would finally get those animals attention. sincerely aidan walsh southampton. p.s. total chronic denial….

  2. aidan walsh says:

    another thing that i do not understand that an international recognized marine biology institue in hawaii has already found a bio-marker for cfs and now claim to be an auto-immune disease. replicated science and again nothing that the cdc is doing or the international media covering any of these stories. cleary a serious infection that cause very serious illness and reputed science. this clearly indicates that the water,food chain and even blood supplies and very likely vaccine contaminations.funny now how slow the cdc/nih are to react.i suggest all of you be more concerned by this research and have your blood sent to be evaluated.”hokama cardiolipin cfs 2008.pdf this research indicates that a form of a ciguetera type toxin has been found and they are calling it a “ciguetera epitope” the other paper also that came out is also leading up to the hawaii research and is called “the role of blue-green algai toxins in the development of alzeimer’s, parkinson’s als(lou gehrigs disease),and cancers,which was supported by the nancy taylor foundation for chronic diseases (oct.2009)(pdf file) also now there is even a greater find that connects to this but i am presently not in any position to say what that is now but i can assure you this it will give this illness finally the physical recogniton and acceptance by the international medical community and finally shut the likes of those phyco-babbles up for good. all this work was supported by patients monies and grants from the national cfids foundation (ncf).finally to all of you who have lost so much to this illness and the ones who did not believe you, do not ever give up hope because hope is just around the corner for all of you and we all will stand proud when those criminal charges are filed and your lawsuits are heard.i can be well tomorrow but they are not going to get away with all the neglect that we all have had to endure.insurance companies and the likes of all of you who were suppose to be in charge of this at the cdc/nih our days in the highest courts will be heard.may god bless all of you who are ill with this monster but never ever stop fighting for your rights and our day will come and we will be heard. sicerely aidan walsh southampton u.k.

  3. I read an article and a comment on this debate this morning that pretty well confirm to me that the Imperial College cannot be trusted to give accurate testimony about their results and have already knowingly misllead in their presentations to the press.

    Doubt cast on new fatigue theory
    http://www.google.com/hostednews/ukpress/article/ALeqM5inrHHwpLhcsS5o12h1PkCc57BaHw

    Professor Myra McClure, from Imperial College London, “…. 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.”

    McClure implies in her statement that the positive test results in the US were due to contamination. There are several facts she must have been aware of when making her statement that stongly suggest this to be untrue.
    The first is that there were 2 groups in the WPI study. The first group of 100 CFS patients had a XMRV +ve by PCR rate of 67% . The second group of 208 healthy controls had a XMRV positive rate of 3.7 %.
    Had the WPI results been positive because of Laboratory contamination there would have been even numbers in both groups but indeed the differences in the 2 groups were marked.
    Any scientist or technician would know this. That means Myra McClure is telling a deliberate lie by implication and that puts the intent and results of the Imperial College study itself into question. She is using false implication to bolster acceptance of her results by people who dont have a scientific backgound.

    The results are the strongest ever reported linking a virus to a specific illness.

    And there are other strong indicators that this is not lab contamination such as the definite geneitc difference from other Murine Leukemia Viruses. McClure must have read WPI’s study and must be aware she is misleading people by implying that contamination were responible for WPI’s results.

    The WPI samples were also tested in 3 laboratories, including that of Dr Silverman who co -discovered this virus 3 years ago in research unrelated to CFS. So the imperial College are saying they are sure the discoverers of the virus cannot test for the the virus they discovered.
    Myra must have heard by this stage that WPI is testing 500 UK samples with the % ages are coming out the same as the WPI study so that blows the idea that its not in the UK.

  4. I read an article and a comment on this debate this morning that pretty well confirm to me that the Imperial College cannot be trusted to give accurate testimony about their results and have already knowingly lied in their presentations to the press.

    Doubt cast on new fatigue theory
    http://www.google.com/hostednews/ukpress/articl

    Professor Myra McClure, from Imperial College London, “…. 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.”

    McClure implies in her statement that the positive test results in the US were due to contamination. There are several facts she must have been aware of when making her statement that stongly suggest this to be untrue.
    The first is that there were 2 groups in the WPI study. The first group of 100 CFS patients had an XMRV +ve by PCR rate of 67% . The second group of 208 healthy controls had an XMRV positive rate of 3.7 %.
    Had the WPI results been positive because of Laboratory contamination there would have been similar numbers in both controls and patients but indeed the differences in the 2 groups were marked.
    Any scientist or technician would know this. Please correct me if I’m wrong about this. If Im correct then that means Myra McClure is by implication deliberately misleading the uneducated pulic in an effort to bolster her own study’s results and that puts the intent and results of the Imperial College study itself into question.
    She fails to mention that there are other reasons which make contamination unlikely. That is that this retrovirus is different genetically from other Murine Leukeamia viruses found in mice that are found to contaminate laboratories. This was found when the retrovirus was discovered 3 years ago. It is not a contaminate virus and has never been classified as one.
    Dr John Coffin, a retrovirologist of 40 years who spoke at the CFSAC XMRV presentations meeting made it quite clear that the possibility that these study results were contamination was most unlikey. He was pretty definite on that point. So McClure must have known she was spreading disinformation by implication in hern statement.

    The results are the strongest ever reported linking a virus to a specific illness.

    The WPI samples were also tested in 3 laboratories, including that of Dr Silverman who co -discovered this virus 3 years ago in research unrelated to CFS. So the imperial College are saying they are sure the discoverers of the virus cannot test for the the virus they discovered.
    Myra must have heard by this stage that WPI is testing 500 UK samples with the % ages are coming out the same as the WPI study so that blows the idea that its not in the UK.

  5. aidan walsh says:

    a third comment i wanted to present to the negative u.k.xmrv study is i only hope that once dr.kerr finishes his replication work from the original true scientific study done in reno then and not until then will the retrovirus theory come to light.also bear in mind the u.k. study was done by another one of those wackos who thinks this is all in your heads.he has a vested and also a monetary interest to quash any physical findings in this illness and he is nothing more than a mental doctor who knows nothing about retroviruses and infectious diseases. there is an old saying in medicine that the ones who cannot make it up the real ladder in medicine end up as pharmacists or in the line of shrinks because they suffer from some kind of mental disoders and need help themselves.so to all of you do not pay any attention to the mental doctors involved in this illness.even if reno is right which i doubt very much nothing in science is ever proven unless it is replicated and also in cfs stat 1 is involved and that retro could be just along for the ride.the mental quacks did the same thing years ago by saying m.s. and lupus were mental disorders and when gay men starting getting sick they were dismissed and joked at as people with gay cancers.the truth will come out and for now to all of you pay a lot closer attention on the important research being funded by gail kansky and ncf and you will see the puzzle come together.also beware and hang on to your needed monies and stop buying those books from the charlatans who claim to be world renowned researchers when they get their poor secretaries to put their books together for them.yes, real researchers and they can hardly get out of bed themselves with this disease.the last thing i would want is ever to give anyone of these clowns money thinking that my funds were going into research when the truth of the matter was you were enriching the lives of these charlatans. any organization on cfs should not fund anyone who has the disease.finally to the c.d.c/n.i.h. if any of you there think for one minute that we are not going to file very serious legal motions for the neglect and stealing of funds for this disease you all have another thing coming.we will not let this go and your total disregard for our lives is going to cost you billions and i personally will make sure you are investigated and uncover your filth.you are a bunch of no good very disrespectful people and you have done so much harm not only to the adults with this disease but the countless childen who are so ill with this illness and the ones who have died out of your stupidity.i would not ever wish this monster illness on anyone but a few of you truly need a taste of this illness to make you finally understand how we suffer day in and day out.i am a very faithful person and i know you will be waiting a long while in line when god judges you.to know that an organization that is suppose to be looked on from the world as a leader in infectious diseases you truly slipped on this one by appointing a quack to head up your cfs program. can you all now imagine if the work from reno is right and the estimates are 5% of the healthy population are carriers of this disease and will spread like wildfires.what are you going to do then if this is true.maybe you will send some of your cronies down to another epidemic and they will come back and report to you about these people are not normal americans.i sometimes wonder now what really happened that day in that c.i.a. meeting when a group of army officials from the dept. of science and technology met and requested a $25 million grant to create two diseases.funny how the words in that meeting mentioned in detail which were recorded and released by a secretary about how they wanted to create one of which was immunodeficiency and the second was to incapacite the individuals.sounds an awful lot like aids/cfs combined.makes all of us really wonder why the truth has been so slow to come out but it will in private research and then we will see the heads start to role.we will not leave a rock unturned and any/all neglect will be dealt with in the highest courts of law.to the reeves and whites and the other wacko in the u.k. keep playing around with the blood of cfs and i truly pray that you are struck down with this disease because you truly deserve to feel what we go through day in and day out. sincerely aidan walsh southampton u.k.

  6. VESTED INTERESTS OF SIMON WESSELY

    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.

    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.

  7. aidan walsh says:

    simon the weasle is a nut and he will be dealt with in due time. he already has xmrv in his system and will in a matter of time before he comes down with that plus the peice of the hiv virus garth nicolson found in cfs and the gulf war vets. the reason that weasle is involved is he is part of the u.s. biological warfare programs and he is paid to downplay the disease. i suggest any of you read garth nicolson’s book on the truth. the majority of honest researchers are blocked from coming out with the truth. they think that once the real truth finally comes out they think we are just going to walk away from this. they all are in for big surprises because the majority of people i speak to will not let this go. they now say that the only aids drug that may work is a.t.c. and do you not think that if that is true you should really ask yourselves what is it really treating. what about the peice of the aids virus that garth found and who really is this doctor who says xmrv is involved. is she part of the military complex who knows nicolson is right and drawing everyones attention away from the disease. remember what i had mentioned before a $25 million grant went through to create two diseases which had to be hiv/cfs. think about that for a moment.to all of you who have been denied your insurance or government help do not worry because in the end we will battle them in courts of law and we will squeeze them for all the money they have.again to the likes of the weasle and peter white and that other lunatic at the c.d.c. i only pray that your wives or your boyfriends and children are spared of this disease but i hope the three of you get the worse form of this disease. remember 5% of the healthy populatin are coming down with this and i truly hope you three stooges come down with this, because you all deserve it.scum… sincerely aidan walsh southampton…

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