News of the WeekCHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME

Conflicting Papers on Hold as XMRV Frenzy Reaches New Heights

Science  02 Jul 2010:
Vol. 329, Issue 5987, pp. 18-19
DOI: 10.1126/science.329.5987.18

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Summary

Scientists at the U.S. National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration have been 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 a 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learned that a paper describing the new findings has been put on hold because it directly contradicts another as-yet-unpublished study by a third government agency, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That paper, a retrovirus scientist says, is also on hold; it fails to find a link between the xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus and CFS.