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October 13, 2011
XMRV - Work Went On
I really hesitate to bring this up again, considering the sorts of comments that came in the last time I mentioned XMRV around here. But I wanted to note a new paper that's come out. The authors reveal the crystal structures of the XMRV protease complexed with a number of known inhibitors. Some of them are what you'd expect from homology with similar enzymes, and some have unusual features.
But the details of the structures aren't the main point here - what's worth noting is that they exist. And they took time, and effort, and money to obtain. What's more, this sort of thing also went in several drug companies with an interest in antiviral research, not that any of that work will ever see the light of day, as opposed to this academic publication. Those people accusing the scientific world of callously ignoring the whole area should sit down with these X-ray structures for a few minutes.
No, XMRV was taken seriously by the medical research community, and a lot of serious effort was put into it. That's why it's such a shame that the whole hypothesis has ended up the way it has.
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