Wednesday, June 1, 2011

professor Lipkin: Calls to retract the XMRV paper at this point are premature

By Elizabeth Lopatto and Michelle Fay Cortez - Jun 1, 2011,

The study of 150 patients with chronic fatigue syndrome and another 150 healthy volunteers should be complete by early 2012, said Ian Lipkin, a professor of epidemiology at Columbia University in New York, who is leading the effort. Until the research is complete, it’s too soon to know whether there is a link between a virus and chronic fatigue, he said.

“Calls to retract the paper at this point are premature,” said Lipkin, director of Columbia’s Center for Infection and Immunity, in a telephone interview. “We need to let this study take its course, look at the data in a coherent fashion and figure out what it tells us.” While interesting, “the publications don’t dissuade us from continuing our work.”

More than 1 million people in the U.S. have chronic fatigue syndrome, more than those with multiple sclerosis, lupus, or lung cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. The condition, which saps people of energy for months or years, has no proven cause and mostly affects women ages 30 to 50, according to the National Institutes of Health. Women are four times more likely than men to develop the disease.
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To contact the reporters on this story: Elizabeth Lopatto in New York at; Michelle Fay Cortez in Minneapolis at
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reg Gale at

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