Tired of being considered a slacker, not being taken seriously and being considered at most patients with psychiatric disorders (as if there was something wrong), the hypothesis of the viral origin of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome ( CFS )
was welcomed . .
This syndrome causes a chronic state of profound physical and mental disability that often seriously compromises the life of those who suffer from it.
Categorized as a syndrome in the 1980s, early studies hypothesized possible links with Epstein-Barr virus or other herpesviruses, Parvovirus B19 and other enteroviruses as well as with some bacteria. In 2009 on the pages of the prestigious Science
magazine(Lombardi et al, 2009) the possible link between the disease and the retrovirus family , to be precise the murine retrovirus XMRV , was hypothesized , causing great uproar in the international scientific community and the origin of a heated debate not yet concluded.
The hypothesis of the viral origin of the disease, recognizing a biological cause, gave the status of “true” organic patients to those who suffered from the disease and sparked the hope of being able to find an adequate and definitive therapy.
Retroviruses are a long-known family of viruses that often cause no pathology, other times harmless pathologies, sometimes serious pathologies (among these retroviruses the best known is HIV which causes AIDS).
The juxtaposition between CFS and AIDS has been heavily criticized for the difference between the two diseases and the fear and prejudice it could have caused in public opinion.
The public, on the other hand, reacted in part with relief at the recognition of the status of organic and non-psychological (sic!) Patient, and of course with a bit of apprehension and not a few demands, trying to get to the expensive antiretroviral therapies that are used for ‘HIV and clamoring for the test to sidetrack the disease (in reality there is no real specific test, but a test still used only in research which costs around $ 500 and which can only measure viral load).
Investments of millions of dollars followed in research that attempted to replicate the results obtained, but the more time passed the more heated and controversial the debate became, the hypothesis of a false positive and contamination of the blood samples became more and more. reliable, to the point of leading Robert Gallo (famous for his research on the HIV virus and for the dispute with the Nobel laureate Luc Montagnier) to say that it was just a waste of money, that it was all wrong and to be like in a bad dream (“All of it’s a waste of money and it’s wrong”. “It’s like a bad dream”).
At the same time in England the research group of which the psychiatrist Wessely of King’s College is partof London who has been studying CFS for years, published a research in which he claimed that he had not found any trace of the XMRV retrovirus in a sample of 186 patients suffering from CFS (Erlwein et al, 2010). This has attracted not a few criticisms to the scholar and aroused the revolt of patient associations with unfortunate episodes to be forgotten (see also: https://www.medicitalia.it/blog/psichiatria/1350-quando-al-malato-non- like-the-diagnosis-the-case-of-chronic-fatigue-syndrome.html)
Finally, just two days ago, 22 September 2011, the official denial arrives. The same prestigious journal Science has published an article presenting the results conducted in more than twelve different laboratories that have failed to replicate.the results of the study by Lombardi and colleagues, definitively excluding the link between the murine retrovirus XMRV and CFS (Simmons et al, 2011).
This article seems to put an end to the story that has been going on for years, until the recent request by the journal Science to the authors of the 2009 article to retract their study, a request rejected with the laconic response that the data are not conclusive (Silverman et al., 2011).
Yesterday, 23 September 2011, on the pages of the same magazine, Jon Cohen and Martin Enserink tried to write the word “end” to this story: “Done. Case closed. Finito, lights off, The End “. Lights out, but few believe it.

Sources (in chronological order):
Lombardi VC, Ruscetti FW, Das Gupta J, Pfost MA, Hagen KS, Peterson DL, Ruscetti SK, Bagni RK, Petrow-Sadowski C, Gold B, Dean M, Silverman RH, Mikovits JA.

Detection of an infectious retrovirus, XMRV, in blood cells of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome.
Science 326, 585 (2009).
Erlwein O, Kaye S, McClure MO, Weber J, Wills G, Collier D, Wessely S, Cleare A.

Failure to Detect the Novel Retrovirus XMRV in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
PLoS ONE, 2010; 5(1): e8519. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0008519
Silverman RH, Das Gupta J, Lombardi VC, Ruscetti FW, Pfost MA, Hagen KS, Peterson DL, Ruscetti SK, Bagni RK, Petrow-Sadowski C, Gold B, Dean M, and Mikovits JA

Partial Retraction
Science 22 September 2011: 1212182 Published online 22 September 2011
Simmons G, Glynn SA, Komaroff AL, et al.

Failure to confirm XMRV/MLVs in the blood of patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: a multi-laboratory study.
Science, september 22. DOI: 10.1126/science.1213841.
Jon Cohen, Martin Enserink.

False positive.
Science, 23 September 2011; 333 (6050): 1694-1701. DOI:10.1126/science.333.6050.1694

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