Thursday, December 23, 2010

Chicago Tribune publishes professor Racaniello's retraction letter

Vincent Racaniello, professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Columbia University, New York:

This is in response to "Studies cloud chronic fatigue research; Syndrome's link to certain viruses is put in doubt" (News, Dec. 21),in which the Tribune published my reaction to four papers on the retrovirus XMRV, recently published in the journal Retrovirology.

I was quoted as saying, "These four papers are probably the beginning of the end of XMRV and CFS."

I wish to retract this statement and explain my reasons for doing so.

Tribune reporter Trine Tsouderos asked for my thoughts on four XMRV papers that had just been released. I read all four papers and decided that they raised serious concerns about the role of XMRV in human disease. I wrote an e-mail to Tsouderos outlining my summary of the papers, and later that day her article was published. My statement was reproduced exactly from the e-mail I had sent her, so I was not misquoted.

I then set out to write about the papers for my virology blog. After rereading the papers, checking XMRV sequences in Genbank and discussing the issues with my virology colleagues and authors of three of the papers, I decided that my initial impression of the papers was incorrect.

Three of the four Retrovirology papers show that identification of XMRV can be fraught with contamination problems, but they do not imply that previously published studies are compromised by these findings. Read more>>

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