Official Statement from the Whittemore Peterson Institute Regarding UK Study
The Whittemore Peterson Institute (WPI) has reviewed the paper entitled “Failure to Detect the
Novel Retrovirus XMRV in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.” This study did not duplicate the
rigorous scientific techniques used by WPI, the National Cancer Institute and the Cleveland
Clinic, therefore it cannot be considered a replication study nor can the results claim to be
anything other than a failure not just to detect XMRV, but also a failure to suggest meaningful results.
The scientific methods used by WPI are very exact and require specific techniques to ensure
accuracy. Differences in techniques employed by Erlwein et al. not only explain their failure to replicate the WPI study, but also render the conclusions meaningless. These differences
include, but are not limited to the following:
1) blood sample volumes and processing;
2) patient criteria/population differences;
3) number and type of tests done to assure accurate results, including white blood cell
4) use of a molecular plasmid control in water versus a positive blood sample; and
5) different primer sequences and amplification protocol used to find the virus, which
were not validated by a clinical control.
The WPI study was published after six months of rigorous review and three independent lab
confirmations, proving that contamination had not taken place and that infectious XMRV was
present in 67 percent of CFS patients diagnosed according to the Canadian and Fukuda criteria.
In contrast, this latest study was published online after only three days of review. Significant and critical questions remain as to the status of patient samples used in the UK study as those samples may have been confused with fatigued psychiatric patients, since the UK has relegated “CFS” patients to psychiatric care and not traditional medical practices.