A controversial scientific research connecting the disabling condition of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) to a mouse leukaemia retrovirus has been retracted by the journal Science owing to allegations that the research data has been manipulated.
In an unusual move, the Journal retracted the study with the editor-in-chief Bruce Alberts mentioning in a statement that the journal has lost confidence in the report and the validity of its conclusions.
Alberts wrote that most of the authors have agreed in principle to retract the paper but they have been unable to agree on the wording of their statement. It is Science's opinion that a retraction signed by all the authors is unlikely to be forthcoming. We are therefore editorially retracting the report. We regret the time and resources that the scientific community has devoted to unsuccessful attempts to replicate these results, he further mentioned.
Although, after the report released in the year 2009 provided a source of hope for patients, lead researcher Judy Mikovits at the same time reportedly began associating the virus to other disorders like autism and Gulf War syndrome. All these reports were made without any kind of scientific data to support her statements.
According to the Los Angeles Times, several authors on the original paper then reported that their data were flawed, resulting in a partial retraction. Science's staff attempted to get the paper's authors including Mikovits to agree to a full retraction, but the group could not agree on the wording, Science executive editor Monica Bradford said in an interview.
The Journal's editor-in-chief to justify his decision of retraction also mentioned that other laboratories were unable to reproduce the findings.
ABC News reported that in what was probably the fatal blow to the XMRV-CFS theory, tests on blinded clinical samples sent to nine research groups failed to consistently show the virus in patients' blood.
Some other studies done to replicate the report discovered evidence that reagents used in many labs were contaminated with XMRV.