In October 2009 The Whittemore Peterson Institute (WPI) published an account of findings in the journal "Science" by Lombardi et al that rapidly spread around the world. WPI claimed to have found that the relatively recently discovered retrovirus XMRV was frequently found in patients diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Subsequent news releases claimed XMRV was prevalent in  patients with Fibromyalgia and atypical Multiple Sclerosis.

The hope and excitement generated by this research would have to be experienced to be believed! People all over the world, disabled by these difficult to treat illnesses, for once found that more scientists were interested in  researching the cause of CFS and hoped that at the very least the dismissive attitude patients contended with throughout much of the medical profession might at last start to change as people recognised that CFS and Fibromyalgia may well have an organic basis and was not "all in the mind" of it's sufferers.

Since then three studies were published which found no prevalence of XMRV in such patients. The WPI declared that none of these studies had replicated their technique faithfully. Hope started to fade. Then just last week all hell broke loose!