No evidence that mouse virus causes chronic fatigue

A major study in 2009 that claimed a mouse virus was the cause of chronic fatigue syndrome was wrong, and its findings were likely based on contaminated lab samples, US researchers said Tuesday.

"There is no evidence of this mouse virus in human blood," said Jay Levy of the University of California, San Francisco, senior author of the study to be published this week in the journal Science.

Instead, the mouse virus XMRV that was picked up in samples from chronic fatigue patients probably got there because "chemical reagents and cell lines used in the laboratory where it was identified were contaminated with the virus," the university said in a statement.

The 2009 study was hailed as a breakthrough for the estimated one to four million Americans who suffer from the elusive but debilitating illness, and led to many being treated with antiretroviral drugs used against HIV/AIDS.

The study authors said experts need to keep searching for the cause of the disease, which can last for years and cause memory loss, muscle pain, extreme tiredness and possibly insomnia.

"Individuals with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome need to know that taking antiretroviral therapies will not benefit them, and may do them serious harm," said co-author Konstance Knox of the Wisconsin Virus Research Group in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

"Physicians should not be prescribing antiviral compounds used in the treatment of HIV/AIDS to patients on the basis of a Chronic Fatigue Syndrome diagnosis or a XMRV test result."

The 2009 study was conducted by researchers in Nevada and Maryland who found xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus (XMRV) in about two-thirds of blood samples taken from 101 patients with chronic fatigue syndrome.

Levy, a prominent HIV/AIDS researcher, said he was contacted by the original team to try to replicate its findings by examining blood samples from other chronic fatigue patients.

Using similar procedures to examine the blood of 61 patients, "Levy and colleagues found no evidence of XMRV or any other mouse-related virus," UCSF said.

They also determined that it was highly unlikely that humans could become infected with the mouse virus in the first place, because "human serum quickly kills it."

Other scientists involved in the follow up research came from the Wisconsin Viral Research Group in Milwaukee, the Blood Systems Research Institute in San Francisco, the Open Medicine Institute in Mountain View, CA and Abbott in Abbott Park, IL.

"With this extensive study, we could not confirm any of the results of the earlier papers," Levy said.

ksh/jm

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Systems and Network Support Analyst

    £26000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is a rapidly expandi...

    Recruitment Genius: IT Systems Support Analyst

    £20000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is a rapidly expandi...

    Recruitment Genius: Business Travel Consultant

    £20000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in London, Manches...

    Recruitment Genius: Stock Broker / Trainee Broker / Closer - OTE £250,000

    £30000 - £250000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Stock Broker/ Trainee FX, Stoc...

    Day In a Page

    Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

    ‘Can we really just turn away?’

    Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

    ... and not just because of Isis vandalism
    Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

    Girl on a Plane

    An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
    Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

    That's a bit rich

    The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
    Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

    Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

    Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference
    Rugby World Cup 2015: The tournament's forgotten XV

    Forgotten XV of the rugby World Cup

    Now the squads are out, Chris Hewett picks a side of stars who missed the cut
    A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

    Britain's Atlantis

    Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
    The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

    The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

    David Starkey's assessment
    Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

    'An enormous privilege and adventure'

    Oliver Sacks writing about his life
    'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

    'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

    The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
    Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

    Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

    Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago
    Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

    Orthorexia nervosa

    How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
    Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

    Lady Chatterley’s Lover

    Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
    Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

    Set a pest to catch a pest

    Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests