Coming Soon: Results of Multicenter Study of XMRV/pMLV

Science-Oct-09In the three years since the first report linking CFS to a novel retrovirus called xenotropic murine leukemia virus-like virus (XMRV) and later the larger family of polytropic murine leukemia virus-like viruses (pMLVs), there has been great anticipation about the results of various studies that pursued that promising lead. While several large studies have not been able to confirm the presence of XMRV or pMLVs in CFS and the two original positive reports have been retracted, an NIH-supported study involving the original investigators has promised to provide a definitive answer. In a December 28, 2011 open letter, the study’s coordinator and world renowned virus hunter W. Ian Lipkin, M.D., describes his role as,

“My role…is to ensure that the study represents an appropriately powered, definitive, representative sample of CFS/ME patients across the United States; to receive and distribute samples; and to assess results obtained in individual laboratories for consistency and evidence for or against an association between retroviral signal and disease.”

This post provides links to resources for venues that will provide access to the study results and perspective on the findings and authors’ conclusions.

PUBLICATION: Results of this multicenter study will be published on Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2012 at 12:01 a.m. (Eastern time, 4:01 a.m. GMT) in the online journal mBio. The press embargo lifts at that time. The paper will be posted to the journal’s web site at:

PRESS CONFERENCE: XMRV studies have attracted considerable press attention and this study — because of its definitive nature and the high profile of some of the investigators involved with it — is expected to generate media coverage. Columbia University’s Center for Infection and Immunity has scheduled a press conference for 10:30 a.m. (Eastern time; 2:30 p.m. GMT) on Sept. 18, 2012, featuring Dr. Lipkin and four of the key collaborators on the study: Dr. Harvey Alter of the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Judy Mikovits who is now working independently, Dr. Francis Ruscetti of the National Cancer Institute, William Switzer of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and Dr. Mady Hornig of the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia University.

PODCAST: “This Week in Virology,” a popular science podcast produced by Columbia University virology professor Dr. Vincent Racaniello has followed the XMRV story closely for the past three years. Dr. Racaniello has interviewed Dr. Lipkin about these study results for a special edition of TWiV that will be posted at 12:01 p.m. (Eastern time; 4:01 p.m. GMT) on Sept. 18, after the press conference. At that time you will be able to find the podcast here:


September 16, 2012