Dr. Elizabeth Unger has been named to run the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s branch researching chronic fatigue syndrome, a move greeted with skepticism by CFS advocacy groups. She replaces her longtime boss, Dr. William C. Reeves, whose insistence on seeking a psychological explanation for CFS had enraged patient and medical groups that believe the cause is biological.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — under a spotlight again for conflicting research on chronic fatigue syndrome — have extended the search for a scientist to lead research into the disorder. The Atlanta-based agency is looking for someone to take over a branch that, critics say, has resisted and ridiculed outside research that suggesting a correlation between chronic fatigue syndrome and the XMRV retrovirus.
The Atlanta-based CDC has reassigned its chief researcher into chronic fatigue syndrome, a longtime target of patient advocacy groups around the country. Outside researchers last fall reported a strong correlation between chronic fatigue syndrome and a retrovirus related to HIV. The CDC’s research, led by Dr. William C. Reeves, had no role in that study, and Reeves was dismissive of its findings.
Looks like the CDC’s chronic fatigue syndrome research group, led by Dr. William C. Reeves, may have some ‘splaining to do today in Washington. A possible research breakthrough — the discovery of a correlation between CFS and a retrovirus related to the AIDS virus — has fired up the medical community in recent weeks. “This is going to create an avalanche of subsequent studies,” Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University, told the New York Times this month. But will the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention play a role in that research? It hasn’t so far.