Paul Has Measles is a children's book about viruses and vaccines available in English (download pdf) Spanish (download pdf) French (download pdf) German (download link) Portuguese (download pdf) Romanian (download pdf), Italian (download pdf), Croatian (download pdf) and Mixtec (download pdf). Kindle and paperback versions also available at Amazon in English, Spanish, French.

At Retroviruses 2019 in Cold Spring Harbor, Vincent speaks with virologist Bryan Cullen about his work and his career, together with former associates Ann Skalka, Paul Bieniasz, and Michael Malim.

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By Gertrud U. Rey

Every year approximately 1800 high school students from more than 80 different countries gather at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), where they display their independent research and compete for more than $5 million worth of prizes. Last month, I had the honor of serving as a Grand Awards Judge at this prestigious affair in Phoenix, Arizona.

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By David Tuller, DrPH

Alan Montgomery is a professor of medical statistics and clinical trials at the University of Nottingham’s School of Medicine. He is also the senior author of the Lightning Process study, which was published in 2017 in Archives of Disease in Childhood, a BMJ journal. I wrote him a letter in January of this year, alerting him to my concerns about the study, but did not hear back. Because a recent review cited this problematic trial in highlighting the Lightning Process as an “effective” treatment for children, I decided it was time to send Professor Montgomery a second letter reminding him about my first.

I sent the following earlier today.

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By David Tuller, DrPH

Fans of Bristol University’s team of pediatric ME/CFS researchers could be forgiven if they hoped a recent citation of one of the group’s most high-profile studies would help bolster its wobbling reputation. Yet the suggestion that the Lightning Process is an “effective” treatment for kids–highlighted in the abstract of a pediatric review of “CFS/ME”–has focused renewed attention on the illegitimacy of both the claim and the study on which it is based.

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By David Tuller, DrPH

The recent publication of a review of pediatric “CFS/ME” that promoted the Lightning Process as “effective” has triggered renewed concern–well, ok, I’ve triggered much of that renewed concern–about the 2017 study on which this specious claim is based. That study, from an experienced team from Bristol University, was published by Archives of Disease in Childhood, a BMJ journal, even though the investigators violated multiple ethical and methodological principles of scientific research.

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By David Tuller, DrPH

Let me say this directly: It is way past time for Archives of Disease in Childhood to consign the pediatric Lightning Process study to the trash bin.

As I have pointed out repeatedly, the Bristol University investigators recruited more than half their participants before trial registration, swapped outcome measures based on the early results, and then failed to disclose these critical details in the paper. More than a decade ago, all the major medical journals banned the publication of any studies in which recruitment pre-dates trial registration. For that reason alone, Archives of Disease in Childhood, a BMJ journal, should not have published it in the first place.

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By David Tuller, DrPH

On Friday, I sent the following request to the University of Bristol. I cc-d Sue Paterson, the director of legal services. I received an automatic reply alerting me that Bristol was behind in responding to FOI requests, meaning that a response is unlikely within the mandated period of twenty working days.

One point of this request is to try to find out if Bristol took any action when it learned of the concerns about the conduct and reporting of the Lightning Process study. The seriousness of the documented ethical and methodological violations should have alarmed anyone at Bristol who found out about them.

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By David Tuller, DrPH

On May 15th, I sent a letter to Dr Fiona Godlee, BMJ’s editorial director, alerting her that a new review in Current Opinion in Pediatrics had highlighted the Lightning Process as an “effective” treatment, based on a flawed study in one of her journals–Archives of Disease in Childhood. The subject line: “a plea about addressing the flawed Lightning Process trial”

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TWiV explains the use of a neuronal cell line to study herpes simplex virus latency and reactivation, and a strategy for creating vaccines that induce antibodies against specific epitopes.

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Show notes at microbe.tv/twiv

influenza virus HA

Influenza virus (left). HA is shown in blue. Right, HA molecule. Colored atoms illustrate variable epitopes on the HA head, and conserved epitopes on the HA stem.

A method for making vaccines that induce antibodies against a specific epitope could be used to produce a universal influenza vaccine that would not have to be changed every year.

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