XMRV and blood donation: short debate in the Lords on November 8

October 27, 2010

1 thought on “XMRV and blood donation: short debate in the Lords on November 8”

  1. The Countess of Mar has written a short piece about her parliamentary question for today’s EPolitix newsletter:

    Myalgic encephalomyelitis or ME/CFS has been the poorest of poor relations in medical circles for more than 20 years.

    Despite being recognised by the UK Department of Health as a neurological disease and categorised as such by the World Health Organization since 1968, sufferers from this chronic, distressing disease have been labelled variously as workshy, attention-seeking and suffering psychosocial behavioural problems by some members of the medical profession, who would prefer it to be in the mental health category. To the press, it is still ‘yuppie flu’.

    There is now increasing scientific evidence of persistent viral infections in a large number of ME/CFS patients, though science has not yet pinned down any particular virus as being the causal factor. Those scientists who have advised that patients who have had, or are in remission from ME/CFS, should not be blood donors should be congratulated for exercising the precautionary principle.

    However, the Department of Health press release, in which the ban was announced, was not so clear in its stated reason for the ban, which was to protect patients. Unsurprisingly, nobody believed that this was the sole reason, particularly in the light of recent research findings from the USA of a retrovirus, XMRV, that has been found in the blood of some ME/CFS patients.

    The purpose of my question is to persuade the Department of Health to be more transparent in its dealings with the public and to ask what progress is being made with research in the UK into this disease.

    You can find the article and comments attached to it at


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