By David Tuller, DrPH

Last week, I spent three days in Hobart, on the island of Tasmania. Besides strolling around looking for cafes where I could drink decent coffee and write, my main work-related activity was giving a talk at Menzies Institute for Medical Research, part of the University of Tasmania. About 40 people attended, a quarter or so of them medical professionals and the rest patients and carers.

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The TWiV team reveals that recent mumps virus outbreaks in the US are due to waning vaccine efficacy, and an intranasally delivered small interfering RNA that controls West Nile infection in the brain.

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The National Institutes of Health is the major funding agency for biomedical research in the United States. Nevertheless, there are shocking disparities in grant awards for investigators according to race, gender, age, institution, and state. Such unbalanced allocations must be corrected as they do not encourage the varied perspectives, creative ideas and experimental approaches that are needed for a strong research enterprise.

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By David Tuller, DrPH

SBS, a national TV network in Australian, featured a 12-minute segment last night on a show called The Feed. It was already in the works when I got here, so my visit was timely. I didn’t expect to cry during my interview, but, well, I did. As a journalist, I immediately knew that moment would be featured in the segment. It’s a compelling and heartbreaking look at the difficulties people here confront in obtaining the benefits and support they need to manage their lives as best as possible, given their severe disabilities.

Fighting Disbelief: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

If you want to support my efforts to expose the neglect and abuse people with ME (or CFS, or ME/CFS, or CFS/ME) have experienced in countries around the world, please consider supporting my current crowdfunding campaign on Berkeley’s platform. The money is going to support my reporting project for another year–from July, 2018, through June, 2019.

As of now, I have reached 30% of my goal, thanks to 268 generous donors. During last year’s crowdfunding, I received 1008 donations; it would be fantastic to surpass that total. No gift is too small. Please help me maintain the momentum!

https://crowdfund.berkeley.edu/project/9730/wall

By David Tuller, DrPH

I know folks are eager to hear more about what I’m learning in Australia. I’m finding it challenging to have meetings, prepare for talks, conduct interviews, promote the crowdfunding, keep up with my BMJ Open correspondence, and also write posts about what’s happening here. It will take a bit of time to catch up.

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By David Tuller, DrPH

On March 27th, Professor Racaniello and I sent an e-mail to Dr. Trish Groves, editor-in-chief at BMJ Open, declining her request that we send in an e-letter for publication to ensure “maximum transparency.” Two days letter, we received yet another appeal from Dr. Groves. In this e-mail, she promised for the first time that BMJ Open would seek a “point by point” response from the authors as well as a comment from the University of Bristol.

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At the Medical College of Wisconsin, Vincent talks with current and former members of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology about their work and their careers.

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Download TWiV 487 (38 MB .mp3, 63 min)
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By David Tuller, DrPH

A couple of times a year, Berkeley offers campus projects an opportunity to crowdfund on the university’s platform. So unlike last year, when I used a third-party site, this time my ME/CFS project is crowdfunding money directly into Berkeley. That saves a lot of hassle, and it also means less money lost in fees.

I want to thank Berkeley for its strong support for my ongoing efforts to debunk bad science, and to the Center for Global Public Health in particular for providing me with a campus home. I also want to thank colleagues at the School of Public Health, who reviewed the PACE trial at my request, were unanimously shocked at its flaws, and encouraged me to pursue the project in the first place. The PACE trial is now used in Berkeley graduate epidemiology seminars as a terrific example of terrible research. So it has become a great pedagogical tool, although that hardly makes up for all the damage it has caused.

My project has long since moved beyond its initial focus on PACE. I am trying to address multiple aspects of the issue in multiple countries, so it’s a lot to cover! And once again I need your help. Berkeley opened its crowdfunding platform for a “soft launch” several days ago; yesterday, April 1st, was the “hard launch.”

It goes without saying that I really appreciate every donation, no matter how large or small. I know how much patients have suffered under the yoke of the CBT/GET cult. That has to end, and sooner rather than later.

Here’s my crowdfunding page.

Thanks–David

By Gertrud U. Rey

Gertrud Rey is a trained virologist residing in Atlanta, Georgia. During the day, she works as a consultant in a biotech patent law firm, but spends much of her free time as a science communicator. She was a guest on TWiV 179 and 424.

The lack of a suitable animal model for human dengue virus infection and disease has presented considerable challenges for dengue virus vaccine research.

Chimpanzees, rhesus macaques, and the common marmoset, representing apes, Old World monkeys, and New World monkeys, respectively, have been used as model organisms to study dengue. However, although they are permissive for dengue virus infection, they do not develop overt disease. Having good animal models to understand the interaction between dengue virus and the host innate immune response is particularly important for vaccine development.

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By David Tuller, DrPH

On February 20th, Carol Monaghan, a member of Parliament from the Scottish National Party, led an extraordinary debate in the House of Commons about the ethical and methodological failings of the PACE trial. The debate included discussion of the debilitating nature of the illness, the conflicts of interests of the PACE authors, the study’s unfortunate reliance on subjective outcomes, the unacceptable outcome-switching that juiced the reported findings, the hundreds of thousands of pounds spent by Queen Mary University of London to avoid the release of raw data, and the trial’s “devastating” impact on patients.

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