February 8, 2013 § 4 Comments
CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome): A new kind Of AIDS
by Petros Arguriou
During the late 1970’s and the early 1980’s a newly realized public health condition terrorized the world. They named it AIDS: Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.
Public health activists exercised tremendous pressure to politicians and scientists to find a quick solution to the problem. To meet their demands, a researcher monomaniacally sought to relate retroviruses to relate retro-viruses with pathogenesis, Robert Gallo, circumventing proper and descent scientific methods, supposedly tracked down and characterized one retrovirus as “the cause of AIDS”. Gallo, the godfather of a speculation that would become a scientific dogma, named “his” retrovirus HIV: Human Immunodeficiency Virus.
Soon after, a deadly drug regimen, AZT, withdrawn many years before from cancer therapy due to its unacceptable toxicity was recruited for the AIDS war.
A treatment had been found! An extremely deadly cure for an ill researched illness.
Public opinion was appeased, the world changed in a matter of days. Still, up today, no cure and no vaccine for AIDS/HIV has been found. Though AIDS/HIV turned out to be a huge commercial success, therapeutically it was not as successful. Therapeutically some claim antiHIV treatment to be a disaster.
The commercial and political success of AIDS/HIV created a pattern, sought to be repeated by numerous public health organizations and big pharma companies. It was a great business plan that involved industrializing medical science, dispersing promptly any reasonable doubt, getting out products (drugs) faster then ever before in the name of medical necessity and promoting or enforcing the use of dangerous drugs by destroying common sense through mega-doses of fear and guilt injected by the mass media. This fast-track of science, the industrialized science, the fast food science, junk science has replaced meticulous and proper science and has become the perfect model for all Novel Epidemics to follow with the latest example being the 2009 swine flu hoax.
The degree by which AIDS/HIV science affected scientific reasoning and methodology can be clearly exhibited in the case of quite recent public health tragedy that has been fortunately averted, probably due to conflicting interests: The tragedy of turning the largely medically unexplored Chronic Fatigue Syndrome into an AIDS/HIV like transmutable Syndrome. The AIDS/HIV establishment has made the post HIV medical research world after its own image, a world in which well situated yet rogue “science designers” have turned research into fashion. A scientific fashion that tailors Iron Maidens and forces each and every human being on planet Earth to wear them.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), exactly like AIDS is a rather not well defined syndrome which comprises of various previously existing and non CFS specific symptoms. According to CDC (Centers for Disease Control and prevention), CFS symptoms include: difficulties with memory and concentration, problems with sleep, persistent muscle pain, joint pain (without redness or swelling), headaches, tender lymph nodes, increased malaise (fatigue and sickness) following exertion, sore throat and some additional CFS accompanying symptoms may include irritable bowel, depression or psychological problems (irritability, mood swings, anxiety, panic attacks), chills and night sweats, visual disturbances (blurring, sensitivity to light, eye pain), allergies or sensitivities to foods, odors, chemicals, medications, or noise,brain fog (feeling like you’re in a mental fog)
difficulty maintaining upright position, dizziness, balance problems or fainting.
Now how could anyone believe that these symptoms could be attributed to a retrovirus, an entity that resemble the virus that is allegedly causing AIDS? What could the connection between CFS and AIDS/HIV possibly be?
There are definitely connections between CFS and AIDS and they are irrelevant to real science. Let us study them in details.
Since the AIDS era, and perhaps even earlier, viral causations have become very trendy and are attempted to be applied to a variety of very different disease conditions, from cancer to epidemics, even to Parkinson’s disease. In 2009, a US research team decided to apply novel epidemics science into CFS and embarked on their virus hunt. The reasoning behind the viral aetiology pursue resembled Gallo’s rise to prominence, a journey that began with his failed retroviral-cancer hypothesis which he successfully transmutated -like the good alchemist he was- into a retroviral-Immune Suppression dogma.
The same trajectory –from cancer research to Syndrome research – was followed in the case of CFS.
According to the US researchers exploring viral involvement in CF Syndrome, the reason for doing so was: “The recent discovery of a gammaretrovirus, xenotropic murine leukemia virus–related virus (XMRV), in the tumor tissue of a subset of prostate cancer patients prompted us to test whether XMRV might be associated with CFS. Both of these disorders, XMRV-positive prostate cancer and CFS, have been linked to alterations in the antiviral enzyme RNase L.”
Now why would someone try to relate CNF with retroviruses?
We have already spoke off scientific Iron Maidens that adjust pretty much everything to their proportions- regardless of the fact that Iron Maidens are torture instruments indented to crash anything inside of them.
The novel epidemics science or rather fashion is a unisex one size fits all craze that ousts or crushes proper science.
And it was exactly this scientific iron maiden that the parents of a young girl with CFS diagnosis attempted to evoke.
The Whittemores, a wealthy couple were deeply dissatisfied by the lack of progress in CFS research as their daughter received no help for her CFS condition.
They decided to devote money and time in establishing their own private research center to help uncover the secrets of the CFS origin and treatment to relieve their daughter from her condition.
To do that they hired a leading expert among others. The main expert of their choice was Judy Mikovits.
Mikovits worked in the National Cancer Institute under the famous Frank Ruscetti, one of the main contributors to the chain of scientific research that led to the “discovery” of “HIV”, a co-worker of Robert Gallo.
Her research involved retroviruses and their possible involvement in the immune function.
It would be fair to say that Mikovits belonged to the so called “Aids establishment”, a scientific priesthood that believes in the endless pathogenic capacity of retroviruses.
It would be exactly the same dogma that Mikovits would try to apply to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome research once she was assigned to it.
This would not be the first time that the AIDS establishment would try to take over the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. During the 1990s, previous attempt of a “hostile” scientific takeover of CFS failed.
The viruses that preceded the HIV discovery, the HTVL retroviruses were previously attempted to explain the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and make it look like AIDS, AIDSfy it, during the 1990s, an attempt which failed. An insider, Paul Cheney, celebrating the revival of the CFS/retroviral hypothesis, give us an account of the previous failure:
“Recently published in Science (2009) out of the Whittemore-Peterson Institute in Reno, NV along with The Cleveland Clinic and the National Cancer Institute (NIH) is the first convincing association of an isolated retrovirus with CFS. The gammaretrovirus XMRV was only recently discovered in 2007 at the Cleveland Clinic and cultured out of prostate cancer tissue from prostate cancer victims who had a rare mutation in the anti-viral RNAse-L pathway. CFS patients also have unusual alterations in the same anti-viral pathway (1997) though different in its detail and far less rare.
Dan Peterson MD, a long time resident of Incline Village, NV (Lake Tahoe) and I worked for over eight years (1984-1992) to link CFS to a retrovirus. Dan first sent five patient samples to Specialty Labs in 1985 to test for HTLV-1 and 4 of 5 were positive. We did this due to incredible disturbances on flow cytometry of peripheral mononuclear cells producing elevated CD4/CD8 ratios due to CD8 depletion as well as scatter patterns (debris patterns) that the laboratory flow cytometrist said she had only seen in HIV infections. A radiologist at UC San Diego, on review, said our MRI brain scans done on CFS cases showing UBO’s (1988), looked exactly likes AIDS cases. Repeat testing was negative for HTLV-1 and Dr. James Peters of Specialty Labs suggested these CFS patients might have a cross reacting and novel retrovirus that looks like HTLV-1. In 1986, I called the NCI and Robert Gallo MD, head of the foremost retrovirology laboratory in the world at the time, accepted Lake Tahoe samples for a year resulting in the association of an HHV-6A strain with Lake Tahoe CFS cases (1992), only previously linked to HIV infection.
While practicing in Charlotte, NC and based on continued evidence of unusual immune disturbances by flow cytometry including CD4 depletion (ICL) in 15% of CFS patients which was investigated in my clinic and dismissed by the CDC as clinically irrelevant and continued high RNAse-L activity (1994), I contacted Elaine DeFreitas PhD at the Wistar Institute who ultimately found HTLV-II-like genes associated with CFS (1991). Her work was unfortunately assaulted by the CDC that claimed either an endogenous RV sequence that lighted up in cases and controls using her primers (per Dr. J.W. Gow) or null responses to cases and controls (per CDC scientist). Elaine argued that these two scientists with diametrically opposing results manipulated the magnesium concentration which affects the primer stringency and got whatever result they wanted, to make their opposite claims. Her proposal to physically run the assays side by side with the CDC scientists to see if these results could be replicated was dismissed by the CDC. Dr. Gow would later publish his opinions (1992). Left unfunded by senior administrators at the NIH and the CDC, the search for a retroviral link in CFS dissipated and was lost until Judy Mikovits PhD, operating out of the independent Whitmore-Peterson Institutes, revived the long search. I congratulate her and the Whitemore-Peterson Institute. 
There are lessons to be learned from the Cheney account of the CFS-retrovirus pursuit:
You change the method, you change the results. You change the parameters, you change the results. You manipulate the results, you change reality.
Since golden standards have been abandoned anything is possible. Change the primers, use PRC, splice it up, grow it and amplify it and you’ ll find a pot of viruses at the end of a Petri dish.
Changing primers and using even slightly different cell culture techniques can get you any result your heart desires: A novel retrovirus, XMRV and the cause and cure of Chronic fatigue Syndrome.
And a ticket to the Hall of Fame of Science.
More than decade later, with the Whittemore money and support, Judy Mikovits would become a modern dr Frankenstein and would try to revive the long dead retroviral CFR dogma.
And she would succeed. For a while Mikovits would deceive the experts, the media and the masses with a paper (co-authored among others by Frank Ruscetti, one of the researchers who paved the way for Robert Gallo to “discover” the blockbuster HIV) that claimed that out of 101 CFS patients, 68 had a new retrovirus, the XMRV, the Xenotropic Murine Leukemia Virus.
The retroviral CFS revival, the new AIDS was triumphantly heralded by the mainstream media. The N.Y. Times described it as “As big splash from an upstart medical center”.
For a brief, CFS had become a new kind of AIDS. Judy Mikovits, the modern day Frankenstein had breathed life into his corpse-born monster. And she would use the ambrosia of monsters, fear, to breastfeed her monster into something the world have never seen before:
Mikovits, “invoking the world’s slow response to AIDS… warned that XMRV infection “could be the worst epidemic in U.S. history.”
It would. If only Mikovits’ Lombardi’s and Ruscetti’s research was not replicated.
If only there were no conflicting interests inside the medical community.
If only the Psychiatric establishment hadn’t collided with the AIDS establishment as both had conflicting interests in the case of the CFS.
Probably fearing of losing a good part of a good disease (CFS) to the AIDS establishment, the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London, partially funded a new CFS research in UK patients.
Surprisingly, the new research did not replicate the original findings. On the contrary: The UK research found, none, not even one XM retrovirus particle. It simply wasn’t there.
Two more researches, one with Danish patients and one with German ones, replicated the results of the UK study: no retrovirus to be found!
In the light of contradicting evidence, the Whittemore-Petterson institute tried to defend their findings and the scientific validity of the XMRV-CFS link. Among other arguments aiming to discredit the British study, or at least, its results, the institute argued that “different primer sequences and amplification protocol (were) used to find the virus.”
Primers can make a result, primers break a result.
Ruscetti, a major league scientific player, a pop star of science did not receive the news of his “discovery” breaking up well. Who can easily accept rejection after all?
He went in denial. Denial then turned into anger as he attacked the Danish researchers questioning not only their scientific adequacy but their integrity as well: “ I don’t know how they get away ethically with this…I don’t think that is good science.” Ruscetti said.
But the overwhelming evidence of the virus not being there forced Ruscetti to concede.
“I grew it with my own hands” he dramatically confessed to a fellow scientist as if he was an obstetrician with a dead baby in his hands or a lover with a withered rose.
Ruscetti was the among those who initially grew the HTLV viruses as well, the viruses that led to the “discovery” of the “HIV” virus. With “their own hands”. Following a germane to CFS protocol, Poiesz and Ruscetti gave us the HTLV viruses. Poiesz and Ruscetti work was then usurped by Gallo. And Gallo did not stop his misconduct at disregarding and exploiting his co-workers, Poiesz and Ruscetti. To “discover” “HIV” Gallo continued following cagey practices that should have made the scientific community wonder “how did he got away ethically with this?”. Practices that involved Gallo’s “mishandling” of a cell culture from Luc Montagnier and the Pasteur Institutes.
But unlike the CFS/XMRV research, the AIDS/HIV research was never replicated. Thus, never proved or disproved.
The CFS/XMRV fiasco should instruct us to review Gallo’s research.
For Judy Mikovits, things got completely out of hand. Not only was the CFS/retrovirus paper she co-authored with Ruscetti and Lompardi retracted from Science magazine in 2011, she was also locked out of her lab at the Whittemore-Petterson Institute.
Why would the Whittemores lock their main researcher out of their lab?
The answer is: Misconduct.
And misconduct evolved into something even more dire: Robbery.
Mikovits persuaded one of her post-grad students to enter the lab and remove notebooks and patient samples. The Whittemores sued Mikovits and she ended up spending five days in jail.
There are so much in common between the AIDS/retrovirus research history and the CFS/retrovirus research history that they should be studied in comparison to each other:
Common protagonists, instances of misconduct, luck of transparency, accusations of theft…
The parallels are drawn.
Fortunately, in the case of CFS/retroviruses research, sane science prevailed over lunacy and insatiable ambitions.
Mikovits intended to tie her retrovirus not only to CFS. She also attempted to connect it with Autism and Parkinson’s disease and turn them into AIDS like conditions.
Like an original doomsayer, she warned “of the worst epidemic in U.S. history” less her work was taken seriously into account.
But would the consequences be if her research was not falsified?
There is only one world to describe a post Mikovits world: Nightmarish.
Already, in October 2009, the Whittemore-Petterson Instutite announced the development of a commercially available XMRV diagnostic test by VIP Dx. Things were taking their course and few if any had any objections for something that could turn out to be as big and monstrous as AIDS. Because clearly there was an intention to AIDSfy Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. According to the XMRV-CFS link paper: “Finally, it is worth noting that 3.7% of the
healthy donors in our study tested positive for XMRV sequences. This suggests that several million Americans may be infected with a retrovirus”.
What does this mean? If the retrofatigue theory had it’s way and if there were any conceivable human to human transmission pathways of the XMRV retrovirus, it would mean one and only thing: EPIDEMIC. Sound the alarms. A rough 4% of the human population would be put into lifetime antiretroviral treatment. Are you XMRV positive? IF you are, then, even if you haven’t developed Chronic Fatigue Syndrome yet, a positive XMRV diagnosis would put you in the group of people likely to develop CFS and likely to spread it. Just like AIDS. So you would also be sentenced in a lifetime of toxic antiviral treatment. Just like AIDS. It is what Novel epidemics science would demand of you: to risk your life and jeopardize your health for a scientific fixation. XMRV would have become a new brand of AIDS. And the world can hardly tolerate the old kind of AIDS.
This time around, we got lucky.
 Detection of an Infectious Retrovirus, XMRV, in Blood Cells of Patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Vincent C. Lombardi, Francis W. Ruscetti, Jaydip Das Gupta, Max A. Pfost, Kathryn S. Hagen, Daniel L. Peterson, Sandra K. Ruscetti, Rachel K. Bagni, Cari Petrow-Sadowski, Bert Gold, Michael Dean, Robert H. Silverman, and Judy A. Mikovits, Science, 8 October 2009