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Research Article

Failure to Detect the Novel Retrovirus XMRV in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

  • Otto Erlwein,

    Affiliation: Jefferiss Research Trust Laboratories, Section of Infectious Diseases, Wright-Fleming Institute, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London, St Mary's Campus, Norfolk Place, London, United Kingdom

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  • Steve Kaye,

    Affiliation: Jefferiss Research Trust Laboratories, Section of Infectious Diseases, Wright-Fleming Institute, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London, St Mary's Campus, Norfolk Place, London, United Kingdom

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  • Myra O. McClure mail,

    m.mcclure@imperial.ac.uk

    Affiliation: Jefferiss Research Trust Laboratories, Section of Infectious Diseases, Wright-Fleming Institute, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London, St Mary's Campus, Norfolk Place, London, United Kingdom

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  • Jonathan Weber,

    Affiliation: Jefferiss Research Trust Laboratories, Section of Infectious Diseases, Wright-Fleming Institute, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London, St Mary's Campus, Norfolk Place, London, United Kingdom

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  • Gillian Wills,

    Affiliation: Jefferiss Research Trust Laboratories, Section of Infectious Diseases, Wright-Fleming Institute, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London, St Mary's Campus, Norfolk Place, London, United Kingdom

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  • David Collier,

    Affiliation: Social Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre, Institute of Psychiatry (King's College London) De Crespigny Park, Denmark Hill, London, United Kingdom

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  • Simon Wessely,

    Affiliation: Department of Psychological Medicine, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, Camberwell, London, United Kingdom

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  • Anthony Cleare

    Affiliation: Department of Psychological Medicine, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, Camberwell, London, United Kingdom

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  • Published: January 06, 2010
  • DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0008519

Reader Comments (31)

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Why not a more substantial discussion on discrepant XMRV findings?

Posted by JohnM on 07 Jan 2010 at 15:03 GMT

Aside from the fact that these samples were provided by Prof. Simon Wessely, who has built his career on the hypothesis that CFS is a form of psychoneurosis, and therefore came from a psychiatric referral center specializing in behavorial treatments for psychogenic 'fatigue', the more important issue is why no XMRV whatsoever was found when previous studies have reported a prevalence of around 4% in otherwise 'healthy' controls.

In an almost exact mirroring of the discrepancies reported by this study and the original Science paper, two American groups have reported finding an association between XMRV and prostate cancer, while two European groups failed to find any XMRV whatsoever.

With two independent studies reporting a roughly 4% prevalence in healthy controls, and the Japanese Red Cross finding a 1.7% prevalence in Japanese blood donors, for the studies which have failed to find an association between XMRV and the diseases studied to not find any XMRV at all in what now appears to be approaching a thousand patients(186 patients for this CFS study, 589 for the German prostate cancer study, 139 in the Irish prostate cancer study- all of which failed to find any XMRV), this discrepancy sticks out like a sore thumb and needs to be addressed.

Competing interests declared: CFS patient