Well it did seem to good to be true didn't it. Last year's surprising study showing remarkably high rates of XMRV retrovirus in chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) has now been challenged by two British studies (1,2) which found absolutely no evidence of such an infection. It's a transatlantic spat between a private research institute from the States and more regular academic folk from across the pond,who accuse each other of sloppy lab technique. The results are not even close, only one of them can be right. Unfortunately, I'm leaning towards the skeptic's corner. The breakthrough study was simply to good to be true. As I mentioned in the previous XMRV post, I can't imagine such clean results in what is likely an untidy inhomogenous disease. It's a real downer though, because the same group tantalized us with preliminary evidence suggesting that the same virus was found in fibromyalgia patients. Still, the whole world laughed at prions and helicobacter, so while I vote with the skeptics, I cheer for the XMRVers.
As is often the case, this story unfolds at In The Pipeline.