By L Cox, Patient:
What exactly is the purpose of the BMJ? Is it there to discuss and present new scientific research, or to parrot press releases?
The title of the press release may be, "Chronic fatigue syndrome is not caused by XMRV virus". But the Study in question did not come to any such conclusion,
"We provide several independent lines of evidence that XMRV detected by sensitive PCR methods in patient samples is the likely result of PCR contamination with mouse DNA and that the described clones of XMRV arose from the tumour cell line 22Rv1, which was probably infected with XMRV during xenografting in mice.
We propose that XMRV might not be a genuine human pathogen." Furthermore, this conclusion clearly contradicts what Towers said to the BMJ.
Then there is the issue of prostate cancer. If Hue et al. had shown that XMRV (or any other MLV-related retrovirus) was a mouse contaminant, which they did not, then the association of this retrovirus with prostate cancer would also be doubted. Yet the article fails to mention the link to that disease. Why?
The article then proceeds to get a selection of opinions on the story. But why has the BMJ chosen to seek the opinion of the psychologist, Anthony Cleare, on a virology paper? And why has the BMJ failed to obtain any comment from those who would disagree with the title of the press release or Towers, accept that of an ME Association spokesman? Would not a qualified virologist have been more acceptable?
There are a growing list of people whose opinion on this matter should have been included in this article, such as Alter, Mikovits, Ruscetti, Lo, Hanson, Klein, Silverman, etc. At the very least this article should be amended and re-released with the addition of those peoples opinions.
The BMJ's failure to air all views on the matter, and to abandon the normal scientific discovery process by promoting this press release, can only been seen to be an attempt to silence future research into this retrovirus and it's disease associations.
Competing interests: None declared