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Stalinist Tactics and XMRV?

Posted Jul 02 2010 3:23am 1 Comment
A long awaited genuine high quality study replicating the findings of the 2009 Mikovits et al XMRV & ME/CFS paper in Science[1] was imminent for publication by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). It is properly peer-reviewed, was properly accepted for publication and should have been published as was scheduled. The fact that it has now been pulled because it conflicts with findings at the CDC (see Wall Street Journal and Science Insider article extracts below) surely must constitute a very black day indeed for western scientific transparency and integrity as well as for ME/CFS patients? Moreover, such withholding of important scientific findings and debate may have grave implications for blood transfusion safety around the world. Any delay in properly funding further research that may prevent the XMRV retrovirus being passed on through blood transfusion may literally cost many lives.

This is all utterly unbelievable, highly worrying and is, in my view, a transatlantic continuation of earlier similar disgraceful behaviour occurring when we were in preparation for the Judicial Review of the NICE Clinical Guideline 53 on "CFS/ME" in the UK High Court: namely Professor Malcolm Hooper's peer-reviewed and published biomedical ME/CFS evidence summary paper[2] suddenly, and without warning to Professor Hooper or anyone else, disappeared from the publishers website and was marked as withdrawn. Only after considerable protest was the paper reinstated with a full apology. Was it just coincidence that such a peer-reviewed paper authored by one of two leading professional court witnesses opposing UK Government "CFS/ME" psychosocial policy was pulled? I think not.

Are we now witnessing similar interference with the peer-reviewed publication process over XMRV findings in the USA? If so then, in my humble opinion, it is not only a very black day for patients and science but a deeper indicator that something is increasingly very wrong in many western democracies. Does it constitute a new level of state-led policy-based interference with scientific evidence?[3]

We should all be VERY concerned indeed at these extraordinary developments. They look like tactics employed in Stalinist Russia.

Kevin Short.
1 July 2010.
contact@angliameaction.org.uk
[Permission to repost].

"Two groups of researchers studying a potential link between chronic-fatigue syndrome and a virus called XMRV have reached contradictory conclusions, according to people familiar with the findings.

One group found a link, and the other didn't.

Their reports were held from publication after being accepted by two science journals—a rare move that has caused a stir among scientists in the field.

A paper published in October in the journal Science first identified XMRV in people with chronic-fatigue syndrome. Studies published later by other groups produced conflicting results on whether there was a link, leading to intense scientific debate over the Science report's meaning.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that between one million and four million people in the U.S. have chronic-fatigue syndrome, which is characterized by debilitating fatigue and chronic pain. Doctors tend to treat the symptoms, but there are no established, specific treatments.

Many patients, desperate for answers as to the cause of the condition, pinned a great deal of hope on the original findings.

Scientists at the Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health, including NIH infectious-disease specialist Harvey Alter, recently finished research that came to a conclusion similar to that of the Science paper—that XMRV, or xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus, is found in the blood of chronic-fatigue syndrome patients.

The paper was accepted for publication in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America but is on hold, according to Ashley Truxon, media coordinator for the journal. She had no further comment.

Separately, scientists at the CDC, led by microbiologist William Switzer, concluded in a paper in another journal, Retrovirology, that they couldn't find XMRV in the blood of people with chronic-fatigue syndrome, according to people familiar with the situation."

[By AMY DOCKSER MARCUS, Wall Street Journal, 30 June 2010]http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703374104575337160225739290.html

"It was just a snippet of news, reported by an obscure journal in the Netherlands. And yet it lit up the Internet. Twitter was all atwitter, scientists' mailboxes on both sides of the Atlantic began filling up, and dozens of bloggers started jubilating. "It's happened. I cannot tell you all how this changes the world as we have known it for 25+ years," one patient wrote on her blog. "Now to work on the vindication part!"

The reason for all the excitement? Scientists at the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) were reported to have confirmed the link, first published in Science last year, between a human retrovirus and the elusive condition called chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Earlier this year, three other groups reported being unable to replicate such a connection. That federal scientists now confirmed it was huge mood-lifter for patients, many of whom are desperate to find a biological cause, and a cure, for their debilitating ailment.

But the story wasn't as simple as that. Science has learned that a paper describing the new findings, already accepted by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), has been put on hold because it directly contradicts another as-yet-unpublished study by a third government agency, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That paper, a retrovirus scientist says, has been submitted to Retrovirology and is also on hold; it fails to find a link between the xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus (XMRV) and CFS. The contradiction has caused "nervousness" both at PNAS and among senior officials within the Department of Health and Human Services, of which all three agencies are part, says one scientist with inside knowledge."

[by Martin Enserink, SCIENCE Insider, June 30, 2010]http://news.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2010/06/conflicting-papers-on-hold-as-xm.html

ENDNOTES
[1] Detection of an Infectious Retrovirus, XMRV, in Blood Cells of Patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Mikovits JA, Dean M, Silverman RH et al. Science. 2009, 326:585-589.
www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/1179052
www.wpinstitute.org/xmrv/index.html

Also, for a summary of the documented involvement of other viruses in ME/CFS see: Documented involvement of viruses in ME/CFS by Margaret Williams, 30th December 2009. Available athttp://meactionuk.org.uk/Documented-involvement-of-viruses-in-ME.pdf

[2] Myalgic encephalomyelitis: a review with emphasis on key findings in biomedical research. Professor M Hooper. J Clin Pathol 2007; 60:466–471. Doi: 10.1136/jcp.2006.042408.
http://jcp.bmj.com/cgi/content/abstract/60/5/466

[3] For examples of such interference in the UK see
For concerns and professional complaints about the Medical Research Council (MRC) and Department of Work & Pensions (DWP) funded PACE Trial (PACE is the acronym for Pacing Activity and Cognitive behavioural therapy, a randomised Evaluation…) on `Chronic Fatigue Syndrome' see: Magical Medicine: How to make a Disease Disappear and Ethical and Scientific Concerns about the MRC PACE Trial, both by Professor Malcolm Hooper, atwww.meactionuk.org.uk/magical-medicine.htm
www.meactionuk.org.uk/MREC-complaint.htm

For the best and indispensable detailed overview of matters see: CORPORATE COLLUSION. Professor Malcolm Hooper, Eileen Marshall & Margaret Williams. A MUST READ document.
www.meactionuk.org.uk/Corporate_Collusion_2.htm

- ENDS -
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