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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By David Tuller, DrPH

I’m in Sydney now, but last week I had a busy few days in Canberra. My hosts were the wonderful duo of Libby Steeper and Eleanor Flowers. They treated me like royalty and shepherded me around town to the various appointments they and others had organized.

As a representative of the local ME/CFS organization, Libby also joined me for the morning radio interview at ABC’s local affiliate. Eleanor, whose teenage daughter suffers from the illness, attended the meeting with NDIA. We hope that meeting has opened a door that will allow her and other advocates to maintain a dialogue with NDIA going forward.

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By David Tuller, DrPH

In response to our last letter to BMJ Open about its ethically challenged school absence study, the journal’s editor, Dr. Trish Groves, once again invited us to submit a letter for publication. We have declined.

To recap: In 2011, BMJ Open published a research study that exempted itself from ethical review on the false grounds that it was service evaluation. The journal has consistently defended that decision. I have previously posted six blogs about this deplorable situation: here, here, here, here, here, and here.

So this is Virology Blog’s seventh post on this matter. Here is our exchange.

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Carpodacus mexicanusThe evolution of virulence is a fascinating topic, because it illuminates the fine line between a microbe killing a host and finding a new one to infect. This week I stray from the usual subject to explore a study of bacterial virulence, which provides concepts that are relevant to viruses.

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David Baltimore turns 80

Earlier this month (7 March) David Baltimore, 1975 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine (and my postdoctoral advisor) turned 80 years old. In celebration I am re-posting two interviews I did with David: one with the TWiV team, and one for Principles of Virology.

If you are in the Los Angeles area, don’t miss David’s 80th Birthday Symposium at CalTech.

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Hosts: Vincent Racaniello, Alan Dove, Rich Condit, and David Baltimore

Vincent, Alan, and Rich celebrate the 100th episode of TWiV by talking about viruses with Nobel Laureate David Baltimore.

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By David Tuller, DrPH

So I’ve been in Australia for a week. In Melbourne on Friday, I was happy to spend a couple of hours with Emerge Australia, the local ME/CFS advocacy group. We had video glitches so there is not a continuous tape of the discussion, but here’s a link to at least the first part:

https://www.facebook.com/EmergeAustraliaInc/videos/10156242916534111/?fref=mentions&pnref=story

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The Gordon Research Conference on Viruses and Cells is the premier meeting in virology. Held every two years, it covers all areas of virology and is limited to 200 participants to ensure quality and interaction. I know how good this meeting is – I attended for many years and served as co-chair of the meeting in 1995.

Now the meeting needs your help. NIH and foundation support has declined dramatically in recent years (see graph). The organizers of the 2019 meeting need $70,000 to support partial registration and travel costs for 32 speakers, 18 discussion leaders, and selected students and postdocs.

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The TWiV posse considers viral insulin-like peptides encoded in fish genomes, and insect antiviral immunity by production of viral DNA from defective genomes of RNA viruses.

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