XMRV Buzz (12/3) – Red Cross Ban (and Patient Campaign Blood Ban) Plus ‘All the Studies Fit to Print’ From the FDA

December 3, 2010

Posted by Cort Johnson

  • American Red Cross Says No to Possibly Dangerous ME/CFS Blood - Citing recent studies suggesting that XMRV may, in fact, really be present in CFS, the American Red Cross banned people with ME/CFS from donating blood. Why does a Red Cross ban of CFS blood make the newspapers? Because, as the Red Cross website puts it “Some four million people give blood—the gift of life—through the Red Cross, making it the largest supplier of blood and blood products in the United States.”

    The Red Cross Ban leaves the FDA and the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB) looking a little isolated, what with Canada, Australia the UK and now the biggest single blood donation organization in the US, all turning their thumbs down on the prospects of people with CFS giving blood.  The Red Cross cited the AABB’s ‘active’ discouragement of people with CFS giving blood by asking people with CFS who are not ‘feeling well’ that day not to give blood but went further, stating that ‘in the interest of patient and donor safety” they will ‘indefinitely defer’ anybody who has been diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome.

    However the Red Cross will not specifically ask people if they have CFS; instead, if during the general health questioning, if the donor volunteers that they have CFS, they will not be allowed to give blood (thanks to Jennie Spotila for the clarification). No group in the US has taken the apparently extreme step of actually asking their blood donors if they have been diagnosed with CFS.

    Patient Campaign to Stop Blood Donations….Just Revved Up…hmmm - The Press Release came just a couple of days after a new patient protest campaignfocusing on getting, ahem, the Red Cross and the FDA to ban blood from ME/CFS patients got started. Rivka reported that the Red Cross told her the decision was made in October….(but it took a while to write the press release? Or to teach their facilities how to ask “Have you been diagnosed with CFS?” Whatever happened patient action does help. Check out Rivka doing some action of her own in the front of the Red Cross Building in the campaign video.

  • All the Study Data Fit to Print - the FDA has released a nice chart of all the published and conference study data on XMRV prevalence. The chart provides the area study originated from, the type of samples used, the results and the methods used. Thus far, according to the chart 6 of 13 prostate cancer and six of 14 CFS studies studies have been positive. It does not include some studies that haven’t made it to the conferences such as the Joliceur study. It does include the Cheney study (even if they spelled Cheny wrong). The ratio of positive studies drops a bit as they move into other disorders (2/7) five of which were HIV studies. Except for a few studies with almost 0 results the same ‘find it or not’ pattern prevails with researchers finding XMRV in both healthy controls and patients or not at all.

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