News & AnalysisInfectious Diseases

New XMRV Studies Bring Closure—and Fresh Dispute

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Science  21 Sep 2012:
Vol. 337, Issue 6101, pp. 1441-1442
DOI: 10.1126/science.337.6101.1441

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Most of the scientific community long ago pronounced dead the theory that a newly discovered gammaretrovirus, dubbed XMRV, was linked to chronic fatigue syndrome. But the results of the biggest study of all had yet to come out. Funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health and led by Ian Lipkin of Columbia University, the $1 million multicenter project finally published its results on Tuesday in mBio—and not surprisingly, it concludes that the XMRV theory is really, really dead. What is surprising, scientists say, is that Judy Mikovits, the main author of the 2009 paper and the staunchest defender of a role for XMRV—or something closely related—is won over.