NEWS: Analyzing the fallout from the XMRV-Mikovitz controversy
The discovery of the XMRV virus was once hailed as a breakthrough in the research into the cause and cure of chronic fatigue syndrome. More recently, those findings have been the subject of great controversy. The New York Times looks into the scientific questions raised by the XMRV story.
From the New York Time, Feb. 6, 2012
Fallout From Fatigue Syndrome Retraction Is Wide
By DAVID TULLER
When scientists reported in 2009 that a little-known mouse retrovirus was present in a large number of people with chronic fatigue syndrome, suggesting a possible cause of the condition, the news made international headlines. For patients desperate for answers, many of them severely disabled for years, the finding from an obscure research center, the Whittemore Peterson Institute for Neuro-Immune Disease in Reno, Nev., seemed a godsend.
“I remember reading it and going, ‘Bingo, this is it!’ ” said Heidi Bauer, 42, a mother of triplets in Huntington, Md., who has had chronic fatigue syndrome since her 20s. “I thought it was going to mean treatment, that I was going to be able to play with my kids and be the kind of mom I wanted to be.”
Patients showered praise on the lead researcher, Dr. Judy Mikovits, a former scientist at the National Cancer Institute. They sent donations large and small to the institute, founded by Harvey and Annette Whittemore, a wealthy and politically well-connected Nevada couple seeking to help their daughter, who had the illness.
In hopes of treating their condition, some patients even began taking antiretroviral drugs used to treat H.I.V., a retrovirus related to the murine leukemia viruses suddenly suspected of involvement in chronic fatigue syndrome.
More recently, however, the hopes of these patients have suffered an extraordinary battering. (Click here to read the rest of the article)