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Studies linking XMRV virus to chronic fatigue system shown to be false, thousands needlessly taking antiviral drugs

Sunday, June 05, 2011 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: XMRV, chronic fatigue, health news

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(NaturalNews) A 2009 study alleging that a mouse virus known as XMRV is responsible for causing chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) in humans has been debunked. Originally published in the journal Science, the study identified XMRV in the blood of some patients with CFS, and falsely concluded that the virus was responsible for the condition. But new research to the contrary has prompted Science to issue an "editorial expression of concern," which is basically a formal way of admitting that a published study is flawed or inaccurate.

Though the original research only showed that 67 percent of sampled patients with CFS also happened to have XMRV, various doctors and medical groups quickly ran with the findings an began prescribing various antiviral drugs to CFS patients as a treatment. The seeming correlation between CFS and XMRV was never proven to be causative in any way, and yet the pharmaceuticals began flowing like candy.

However, several new studies show that not only is XMRV not the cause of CFS, but the original blood samples used to claim that it was were most likely just contaminated with XMRV at some point during the process. This recent research, which came from both the US National Cancer Institute and the Wisconsin Virus Research Group in Milwaukee, confirms that the original XMRV study was severely botched.

One of the most significant findings pertains to the presence of XMRV in tumor cells. Researchers evaluated prostate tumor cells believed to contain XMRV and found that they did not actually contain XMRV as was believed. After developing for a time, however, the cells did end up developing XMRV, which clearly indicates that XMRV is not present at the time of development, and is clearly not the cause.

"Taken together, these results essentially close the door on XMRV as a cause of human disease," said John Coffin, a researcher involved with one of the new studies, from the Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston.

Based on these dramatic findings, Konstance Knox, who was involved with the Wisconsin Virus Research Group study, stated to Reuters Health that people with CFS should no longer be taking antiviral drugs for CFS because they "will not benefit them, and may do them serious harm." She also added that doctors should stop prescribing such drugs to patients.

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