Thursday, December 23, 2010

... before the dawn

Two things made me happy today.

The first was a blog post from Vincent Racaniello. Dr. Racaniello was the virologist who told the Chicago Tribune that four new papers on XMRV were "probably the beginning of the end" of XMRV and ME/CFS." In other words, he believed the latest research showed that XMRV had nothing to do with ME/CFS. Bad news for anyone hoping that XMRV research could lead to treatment for an as-yet incurable disease that causes unimaginable suffering.

Anyway, he changed his mind. After reading the papers more carefully ...
My conclusion is that these four papers point out how identification of XMRV from human specimens can be complicated by contamination, but they do not mean that previous studies were compromised.
Will the media report Dr. Racaniello's retraction and apology as widely as they did his initial assessment? Probably not. But you'd better believe that people in the ME/CFS community will be quoting him when new articles about the papers are published.

The second thing to make me happy was an interview in Nevada Newsmakers with Annette Whittemore and Judy Mikovitz. Interviewer Sam Shad asked the right questions, and they gave intelligent, articulate replies. Moreover, their delivery was perfect. They managed to discuss all the politics around ME/CFS without coming off to the casual viewer as paranoid conspiracy theorists. Believe me, that's not easy to do.

A heartfelt thank you to everyone above. You all made Tuesday a much better day than Monday.



Meg said...

. . . before the winter solstice.

It was quite a change from Monday to Tuesday. What was striking was the contrast between the careless rush to report and misrepresent the "contamination" papers, and the diligent work of those who continue to care about the patients. I commend Racaniello for pulling himself out of the vortex of misinformation (he had help from patients, too) and owning up to his mistake. Perhaps the media won't widely report it, but his retraction is already reverberating around the ME/CFS world.

The light is growing brighter each day.

cinderkeys said...

Racaniello's retraction was a breath of fresh air. I wonder how many other scientists simply read the abstracts and believed the press release. Maybe this will inspire some of them to take a closer look.