So, here's the scoop, in brief:
- Singh and her colleagues reported in the May 4, 2011, issue of Journal of Virology that they were unable to find any evidence of XMRV in any of the ME/CFS patients they tested. What sets this study apart from many of the other negative studies is that Dr. Singh expected to find XMRV, consulted with Dr. Mikovitz, author of the original XMRV study at WPI, and used multiple methods to try to detect XMRV. They analyzed blood samples from 100 ME/CFS patients and 200 healthy controls. Even Dr. Mikovitz said she was "astounded" that Dr. Singh didn't find XMRV. Dr. Singh also says she had problems with contamination. Here is an article from Science that summarizes the study pretty clearly.
- Though this sounds pretty grim, Dr. Mikovitz issued a response from WPI (to read it, scroll down to May 9 on this News page). She clarifies some misconceptions about the Singh study and continues to defend her original positive XMRV study, published in Science last October. She also further explains how WPI has made sure that there are no contamination issues in their lab.
- Suzanne Vernon, Scientific Director of the CFIDS Association issued a detailed analysis of the Singh paper that explains the methods and approach used, as well as the results. In her conclusion, she explains that the two huge multi-center studies of XMRV in blood sponsored by the Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) are still going forward and that no matter how things turn out, WPI has done some amazing work and XMRV has brought much-needed attention to ME/CFS from the scientific community and the general public.
- The International ME Association also issued its own analysis of the new study. This is a highly technical document that delves into the details of the methods used in the Singh study. Its conclusions suggest that the testing methods in this study were not adequate to detect XMRV.
- While all this arguing is going on, WPI has published a new study that found a unique immune response in ME/CFS patients with XMRV, which would seem to provide new evidence for XMRV's role in ME/CFS.
Bottom Line: Unfortunately, it seems to be more of the same - wait and see. WPI continues its work into the role of XMRV in ME/CFS, the DHHS is moving forward (albeit slowly, at the pace of government) on its huge, multi-center studies of XMRV in ME/CFS, and we just have to be patient and wait for the scientific community to work it all out.