Surprise XMRV Retraction

The journal PLOS Pathogens abruptly retracts the seminal paper linking XMRV to disease.

By | September 21, 2012

Microscopic image of XMRV (Xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus)Image: Wikimedia Commons, Center for Disease Control and Prevention

In a move that caught researches by surprise this week (September 18), the journal PLOS Pathogens retracted the 2006 paper that first identified the infamous XMRV—now known to be a lab-generated, harmless virus—and linked it to prostate cancer. Since its identification, other scientists published studies linking the virus to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which also led to high-profile retractions.

The decision by PLoS Pathogens to retract the 2006 paper came a day after the authors of the study published another in PLOS ONE confirming that XMRV is not linked to prostate cancer. The authors, including Robert Silverman of the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, were preparing an erratum for the 2006 study, but had declined a full retraction and were caught off-guard by the journal’s decision.

“The discovery of XMRV, a new virus, still stands,” Silverman told ScienceNOW. “Why retract results that are valid?”

Indeed, the retraction notice posted by PLOS Pathogens acknowledges that “the original finding of a novel gammaretrovirus, XMRV, with the use of a pan-viral detection microarray is valid, and sequencing and phylogenetic characterization of the virus still stands.” A spokesman for the journal told ScienceNOW that they planned to release a further statement regarding the retraction.

In their new study in PLOS ONE, Silverman and colleagues meticulously retraced their experimental steps to determine the source of XMRV contamination in their cell cultures, which has garnered praise from other researchers. “These scientists put their egos aside and aggressively and relentlessly pursued several lines of investigation to get to the truth," National Cancer Institute researcher Vinay Pathak told ScienceNOW. Pathak was among the researchers who published data that refuted a connection between XMRV and disease.

After publications by Pathak and others, Silverman said he felt convinced that there was an error in his findings. “I felt I couldn't rest until I figured out how it happened,” Silverman told ScienceNOW. “I wanted to get some closure.”

Add a Comment

Avatar of: You



Sign In with your LabX Media Group Passport to leave a comment

Not a member? Register Now!

LabX Media Group Passport Logo


Avatar of: lemonfoundation


Posts: 2

September 22, 2012

Chapter 33 of Hillary Johnson's: Osler's Web: Inside the Labyrinth of the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) Epidemic is entitled "HIV-NEGATIVE AIDS."

Neenyah Ostrom's book "America's Biggest Cover-up: 50 More Things ...CFS and Its Link To AIDS" cites as it's #1 THING: "Some CFS Patients May Be Non-HIV AIDS Cases."

Will CFS research ever make any progress unless we acknowledge this fact?


Avatar of: lemonfoundation


Posts: 2

September 22, 2012

My life with NON HIV AIDS: www.cfsstraighttalk.blogspot.c...

Popular Now

  1. How Gaining and Losing Weight Affects the Body
    Daily News How Gaining and Losing Weight Affects the Body

    Millions of measurements from 23 people who consumed extra calories every day for a month reveal changes in proteins, metabolites, and gut microbiota that accompany shifts in body mass.

  2. That Other CRISPR Patent Dispute
    Daily News That Other CRISPR Patent Dispute

    The Broad Institute and Rockefeller University disagree over which scientists should be named as inventors on certain patents involving the gene-editing technology.

  3. Neurons Use Virus-Like Proteins to Transmit Information
  4. EPO Revokes Broad’s CRISPR Patent
    The Nutshell EPO Revokes Broad’s CRISPR Patent

    Shortly after ruling out the earliest priority dates on a foundational patent for CRISPR gene-editing technology, the European Patent Office rescinded the patent entirely—and more are likely to follow.