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By David Tuller, DrPH

In July, I sent Dr Fiona Godlee, editorial director of BMJ, a letter signed by 55 experts about her company’s perplexing decision to republish the originally reported–and unreliable–findings from the trial of the Lightning Process. She did not respond. This morning I sent the letter again, with more individual signatories along with dozens of patient and advocacy groups.

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Dear Dr Godlee—

We are writing about the correction appended in June [1] to the pediatric study of the Lightning Process conducted by investigators from the University of Bristol and published by Archives of Disease in Childhood in September, 2017. The study appeared under the following title: “Clinical and cost-effectiveness of the Lightning Process in addition to specialist medical care for paediatric chronic fatigue syndrome: randomised controlled trial.” [2]

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AAV vectorAdenovirus associated virus (AAV) vectors are being increasingly used for gene therapy because they are not pathogenic in humans and persist for long periods in certain cell types. Currently 120 gene delivery clinical trials with these vectors are in progress, and two have been approved: Luxturna to treat a rare form of blindness, and another for the treatment of spinal muscular atrophy. Despite these successes, improvements of the efficiency of gene delivery by these vectors are needed. In silico reconstructions of putative ancestors of AAV has led to the development of a new vector that is efficiently expressed in multiple cell types.

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From Georgia State, Vincent speaks with economics professor Paula Stephan about the ways science is supported in the US, how universities offload risks, the absence of risk-taking, and much more.

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By David Tuller, DrPH

Two weeks ago, I sent a letter to the University of Bristol in which I requested that it withdraw its complaints to Berkeley about my “actions and behaviour.” Not long afterwards, I was informed by my academic department that the Berkeley chancellor had received a note from Teresa Allen, the chief executive of the Health Research Authority–the regulatory body that oversees research ethics for the National Health Service.

In that note, she expressed thanks for my role in shedding light on these issues–and did not mention my “actions and behaviour.” I thought I should make sure that Bristol knew about the HRA’s message to Berkeley. So earlier today, I sent Bristol the following follow-up letter.

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Dear Ms Bridgwater—

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By David Tuller, DrPH

Last Tuesday, November 5th, I spoke in Newry, Northern Ireland, about that research study from Bristol University with a 3000-word “correction/clarification” now appended to it. The talk was called “The Lightning Process Trial: A Saga of Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Research–and Even Worse Editorial Decisions.” The name comes from a well-known kids’ book, “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.”

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TWiV 573: Inventing viruses

William Summers joins the TWiV team to discuss some virology history, including the ever-changing concept of ‘virus’ and the contribution of phage research to the study of animal viruses.

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Viruses That Jump Around

Koala_climbing_treeby Gertrud U. Rey

Australian koalas are currently being invaded by koala retrovirus A (KoRV-A), a virus that causes an AIDS-like immunodeficiency and makes infected koalas more susceptible to cancers and opportunistic infections such as chlamydia.

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Amy joins the TWiV team to review evidence that enterovirus D68 is an etiologic agent of childhood paralysis, and her finding that the ability of the virus to infect cells of the nervous system is not a recently acquired property.

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By David Tuller, DrPH

In an interesting and unexpected development in the ongoing saga of my dispute with the University of Bristol, the chief executive of the National Health Service’s Health Research Authority sent a gracious note about my work to Carol Christ, the chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley, on Wednesday, October 31. I did not ask the HRA to send such a letter, so I was surprised–and pleased–when my department head forwarded it to me.

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Chi phageViruses that infect eukaryotic cells typically bind to a plasma membrane receptor to initiate the reproduction cycle. Attachment of bacteriophages to bacterial cells is more diverse. Some attach to bacterial outer membrane proteins, while others attach to appendages such as pili or flagella. How viruses move from the flagella to the bacterial cell surface is revealed by studies of a flagellotropic bacteriophage that infects Salmonella.

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