The XMRV Discovery Series
It certainly doesn't take long for things to come out of the woodwork on the heels of reported scientific breakthroughs. Already, some labs are offering very expensive tests for XMRV, the retrovirus researchers have preliminarily tied to chronic fatigue syndrome and possibly fibromyalgia. Now a lot of people are asking, "Should I get tested?"
The doctors and researchers who've spoken out about these tests say, don't waste your money. Even if you get a positive test, we don't yet know what to do about it. One commenter here recently said she wanted to be tested, because if she was negative for XMRV she'd know to keep looking other directions. That's a perfectly valid argument -- except that, for this particular retrovirus, there IS no reliable commercial test. Even the researchers behind the XMRV finding are looking for XMRV infection in 4 different ways, and getting different numbers depending on the method. A negative test result from a commercial lab, right now, is meaningless.
I know it's hard to hear that, when you've waited a long time for validation of your illness, and you want to find effective treatments now; but that's the reality of it. Do you want to spend $400-$500 dollars for a meaningless test result that doesn't guide you toward better treatments? Odds are, you can find a better use for that money.
Waiting, when your life is in shambles because of illness, is excruciating. I understand that. I'm not a patient person, and I hate having to tell you to wait around and be patient, but that's what we have to do. Quality science can't take shortcuts, so we just have to wait for it validate (or invalidate) this research, provide a reliable test, and figure out what treatments work. How much more of your life will pass while you wait? Hopefully not that much. Researchers are already working on a test and eying possible treatments.
Will you pay for an XMRV test anyway, just to see what it shows? Do you think this is just one more money-making scheme targeting desperate people? Share your opinions below!
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