One of the lessons learned from XMRV is that it’s important for scientists to admit when they are wrong. That is why I took down the image originally posted with TWiV #150.
I had intended for the image to be a counterpoint to T-shirts worn by CFS patients proclaiming them to be ‘XMRV Positive’. I felt it was equally important to advertise the message that XMRV is a contaminant. It was not meant to be disparaging or humorous. However a number of individuals felt otherwise, and told me so in rather harsh terms. Then I received the following email:
I am writing with a concern about an image shown on your website/video blog TWiV.
I have been religiously following you since the first news of the findings in Lombardi et al. I regularly turn to your blog for real scientific information and not the hearsay and pseudo scientific nonsense that permeates the internet.
As a long term patient whose health is deteriorating, I find myself often discouraged by the levels that the conversation regarding CFS drops to. It seems hard to difficult at times scientists willing to work hard without prejudice towards a cure for this terrible disease.
The image in question serves only to widen the divide between patients and researchers. While people suffer, the scientific community has a chuckle at our expense.
I would ask that they image be removed and replaced with one of unity. While XMRV did not pan out, patients are still in need. We need to know the scientific community is doing all they can to save us.
None of the earlier comments that I received about the image were logical and composed; they brimmed with vile. This respectful and reasonable request convinced me that the image was not helpful, so I removed it.