Judy Mikovits is a controversial former chronic fatigue researcher and critic of Dr. Anthony Fauci and mass vaccination who is featured in a viral video vignette promoting a new movie called Plandemic. YouTube has since removed the video, but you can watch it later in this article.
The upcoming movie (read about the man who created it here) raises questions about the government’s approach to the COVID-19 pandemic and whether there is a financial incentive to provoke mass vaccinations, among other claims. Mikovits, who has a new book out, was featured in the first vignette released to promote the movie. Her controversial career in the scientific community has been punctuated by an arrest, lawsuit, retracted research study, allegations against Fauci and clashes with the founders of the Whittemore Peterson Institute for Neuro-Immune Disease, which is located in Reno, Nevada.
Heavy also reached out to Fauci for a response to the video through his agency. Amanda Fine, chief of the news media branch for the National Institutes of Health, responded with this statement: “The National Institutes of Health and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases are focused on critical research aimed at ending the COVID-19 pandemic and preventing further deaths. We are not engaging in tactics by some seeking to derail our efforts.”
The promotional material for Plandemic claims:
Humanity is imprisoned by a killer pandemic. People are being arrested for surfing in the ocean and meditating in nature. Nations are collapsing. Hungry citizens are rioting for food. The media has generated so much confusion and fear that people are begging for salvation in a syringe. Billionaire patent owners are pushing for globally mandated vaccines. Anyone who refuses to be injected with experimental poisons will be prohibited from travel, education and work. No, this is not a synopsis for a new horror movie. This is our current reality.
While some have dubbed Mikovits a conspiracy theorist and anti-vaccine “truther” whose claims don’t match the facts regarding her arrest and research, a press release for Mikovits’s book describes her in a different light, casting her as a scientist “with the brilliant wit one might expect if Erin Brockovich had a doctorate in molecular biology.”
Mikovits’ complaints about Fauci date back to the earliest days of HIV research and who got credit for the scientific breakthrough that isolated HIV as the cause of AIDS. Fauci also played a role in spurring research that led to the discrediting of Mikovits’s research into chronic fatigue syndrome years later. Now her criticism of him has gone viral as his national profile grows.
In her new book, Plague of Corruption: Restoring Faith in the Promise of Science, Mikovits wrote, “I never imagined I’d become one of the most controversial figures in twenty-first century science.” She — and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. — argue that she has been persecuted for her scientific views.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Mikovits, Whose Criticism of Fauci Dates to 1980s-Era AIDS Research, Questions the Motives Behind the US COVID-19 Strategy
The upcoming film Plandemic is coming out in summer 2020, according to its website, which states that the first installment “features renowned scientist, Judy Mikovits PHD.” The video was removed by YouTube because YouTube says it violated its terms of service. You can watch it above.
The 25-minute long vignette claims that Mikovits has been called “one of the most accomplished scientists of her generation” and did work revolutionizing the treatment of HIV/AIDs. The film says she published a “blockbuster” study that claimed “the common use of animal and human fetal tissues were unleashing devastating plagues of chronic diseases.” The “minions of Big Pharma” then waged war against her, destroying her “good name, career and personal life,” the vignette claims. She criticizes Fauci in the video. She has also criticized Fauci on her Twitter page.
In the Plandemic clip, Mikovits admitted to being arrested but claimed it was to stop her from speaking out. The vignette had more than 1.6 million views on YouTube before it was deleted. Mikovits is interviewed by Mikki Willis, whose YouTube account disseminated the video. His Facebook page defines him as a filmmaker for a small production company called Elevate. Elevate’s Facebook page calls it “a tribe of creatives who stand for the power of art and media as a tool to inspire the masses and activate change.” It’s a production company in Ojai, California.
Willis predicted the video’s censorship in an earlier Facebook post that included the vignette, writing:
Dear gatekeepers of truth and free speech, before removing this video, please read these words:
The world is watching you. We understand the pressure you’re under to censor any information that contradicts the popular narrative. We know the risk that comes with defying the orders of those who pull the strings. We realize even the biggest of tech giants are under the command of powerful forces that wield the ability to destroy your empire with the click of a key. But due to the critical condition of our world, “I was just doing my job” is no longer an acceptable excuse.
This is no time to play politics. Our future is your future. Your family’s future. Your children’s future. Your grandchildren’s future. This is a plea to the human in you. Preventing this information from reaching the people is taking a firm stance on the wrong side of history. A choice you will certainly live to regret as truth exponentially emerges. There is nothing, no billionaire, no politician, no media, no level of censorship that can slow this awakening. It is here. It is happening. Whose side are you on?
And to the citizens of this magnificent planet…
If anything is clear at this moment, it is the fact that no one is coming to save us. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. Though great forces have worked long and hard to divide us, our resilience, strength, and intelligence has been gravely underestimated. Now is the time to put all our differences aside. United we stand. Divided we fall.
Be brave. Share this video far and wide! Should this video be removed from this platform, download your own copy at:
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In the video, Mikovits claimed she had 97 witnesses in the case that resulted in her arrest, including Fauci, whom she claimed would have had to testify. She said she was held in jail with no charges and that material — intellectual material from the laboratory where she worked — was “planted” in her house. “I have no constitutional freedoms or rights,” she says.
She cast the government’s approach to fighting COVID-19 in dire terms.
“If we don’t stop this now, we can not only forget our republic and our freedom, but we can forget humanity because we will be killed by this agenda,” she said.
Mikovits claimed in the removed video that Fauci “directed” a coverup that involved financial profit for some. What he’s saying now about COVID-19 is “absolutely propaganda,” she said. Fauci is the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) who has been a leading government figure in briefings about COVID-19 strategies, including lockdowns and other measures to “flatten the curve.” Heavy wrote to NIAID’s press office to give Fauci a chance to respond to Mikovits’ claims and will add his comment into this story if it’s received.
In the video, Mikovits claimed Fauci perpetrated propaganda that led to the deaths of millions of people in the past. She also raised questions about how COVID-19 deaths are being counted.
However, one of her biggest beefs against Fauci dates to the battles for credit over the discovery of HIV in the early 1980s.
In the video, Mikovits claimed she isolated HIV from the saliva and blood of patients in France but that Fauci was involved in delaying research so a friend could take credit, which allowed the HIV virus to spread. These claims are not proven. They were also disseminated in April by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Kennedy alleged on the Children’s Health Defense website (where he is chairman):
Dr. Mikovits joined NIH in 1980 as a Postdoctoral Scholar in Molecular Virology at the National Cancer Institute and began a 20-year collaboration with Frank Ruscetti, a pioneer in the field of human retro virology. She helped Dr Russetti (sic) isolate the HIV virus and link it to #AIDS in 1983. Her NIH boss Anthony Fauci delayed publication of that critical paper for 6 months to let his protégé Robert Gallo replicate, publish and claim credit. The delay in mass HIV testing let AIDS further spread around the globe and helped Fauci win promotion to director NIAID.
On the Kennedy website, Mikovits is quoted as saying:
I took a job at the National Cancer Institute. I was under the direction of Frank Ruscetti. I isolated HIV from blood and saliva confirming Dr. Luc Montagnier’s earlier isolation and description of HIV as a possible causative agent of AIDS. … When Frank Ruscetti was out of town, I received a call from Dr. Fauci and he demanded that I give him our manuscript on the isolation and confirmation of HIV, while it was still in press. I refused to do that because it’s unethical. These manuscripts are confidential and only authors can give him a copy. … When Frank Ruscetti returned a few weeks later, he gave the manuscript to Dr. Fauci, and Dr. Fauci purposely delayed the publication of our manuscript in order that his crony, Dr. Robert Gallo, could copy our work and submit a competing manuscript and get it into press before ours.
The Kennedy website claims: “This delayed the development of testing and spread the HIV epidemic through the world, killing millions.”
NCI is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). NIH is “one of 11 agencies that make up the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS),” according to its website. Fauci works for an agency under the NIH umbrella, but he’s been the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984, which is not the same agency as NCI. Before that, Fauci was Chief of the Laboratory of Immunoregulation for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Ruscetti features in this complex plot in several ways. Mikovits claims Ruscetti was robbed of credit for HIV breakthroughs, and they later banded together to research another retrovirus-related angle involving chronic fatigue syndrome. In both cases, Mikovits blames Fauci for things going wrong.
An article in Discover magazine says Ruscetti, “who had discovered HTLV-1 while working in Robert Gallo’s Laboratory of Tumor Cell Biology at the NCI in 1980,” was also Mikovits’ “primary collaborator” on controversial research into chronic fatigue syndrome. HTLV was the first human retrovirus discovered, and its discovery helped form the underpinnings for later research into HIV, also a retrovirus.
You can read a research article from 2009 on the discovery of HIV as the cause of AIDS here. It’s described as “one of the major scientific achievements during the last century.” This article argues that “discovering HIV was dependent on the previous discovery of the first human retrovirus HTLV-I,” which was “first reported by Robert C. Gallo and coworkers in 1980.” This article credits a researcher named Luc Montagnier with some of the earliest findings about HIV. “The proof that a new human retrovirus (HIV-1) was the cause of AIDS was first established in four publications by Gallo’s group in the May 4th issue of Science in 1984,” it says. The article says that Gallo was denied the Nobel Prize, and this reignited “false allegations in the media that Gallo and coworkers at NIH had rediscovered or even stolen the French HIV isolate previously sent to them from the Pasteur Institute.”
An article on the history of AIDS research in Science magazine explains, “France’s Pasteur Institute in Paris for Barré-Sinoussi and the U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI) in Bethesda, Maryland, for Gallo” were “on opposing sides of a historic who-did-what-when battle that began over the HIV blood test patent.” It doesn’t mention Mikovits or Ruscetti. The French won the Nobel Prize.
As AIDS emerged, Fauci was working as a senior investigator with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. He assembled a group of scientists to study the disease. “Under Fauci’s leadership, NIAID became the single largest funder of HIV/AIDS research in the world. His own lab’s research also has helped clarify fundamental relationships between the virus and the immune system,” Science magazine reports.
In the Plandemic video, Mikovits makes other claims, including that patents are a conflict of interest, and she criticizes the concept of mass vaccines. “They will kill millions, as they already have with their vaccines,” she said, stressing she was not anti-vaccine. She claims there is a financial incentive in COVID-19 strategies to not use natural remedies in order to push people to use vaccines.
Mikovits co-wrote a book called Plague: One Scientist’s Intrepid Search for the Truth about Human Retroviruses and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS), Autism, and Other Diseases and claims 30% of vaccines are contaminated with retroviruses. The book contains a forward from Robert F. Kennedy Jr. The book was No. 2 on the Amazon bestseller list on May 6.
In the foreword, Kennedy calls Mikovits “among the most skilled scientists of her generation.” Kennedy wrote that she entered professional science “from the University of Virginia with a BA degree in chemistry on June 10, 1980, as a protein chemist for the National Cancer Institute working on a life-saving project to purify interferon.”
She then started a 20-year collaboration with Ruscetti, a “pioneer in the field of human retrovirology” who headed up Gallo’s lab in 1977. (Read a historical summary of Gallo’s work here.)
“How many new retroviruses have we created through all the mouse research, the vaccine research, gene therapy research?” she was quoted as saying in 2015. “More importantly, how many new diseases have we created? They’re experimenting with us now. I’m really worried about the population.”
What is a retrovirus? “Retroviruses are a type of virus in the viral family called Retroviridae. They use RNA as their genetic material,” Healthline explains, adding that retroviruses and viruses “replicate within a host cell” differently. HIV is a retrovirus.
In another YouTube video, she claimed about COVID-19: “We don’t need a vaccine. All you have to do is have a healthy immune system.” That video was also removed from YouTube because YouTube said it violated its community guidelines.
Vice reported that Mikovits has been involved in a “Fire Fauci” campaign, “claiming he sabotaged her research into a purported mouse virus that she says is the true cause of cancer.” According to Vice, Mikovits also opposes wearing masks to protect against coronavirus.
The press release for her book describes Mikovits as having “spent twenty years at the National Cancer Institute, working with Dr. Frank Ruscetti, one of the founding fathers of human retrovirology, and has coauthored more than forty scientific papers. She co-founded and directed the first neuroimmune disease institute using a systems biology approach in 2006. Dr. Mikovits lives in Southern California with her husband, David.”
The Plandemic video has been widely shared online. It has also attracted criticism:
Mikovits was featured in a previous video by The Epoch Times that was flagged by Facebook fact-checkers. According to Gladstone Observer, it questions official Chinese stories about COVID-19’s origins. Canadian science communicator Tim Blais raised questions about that video in his own post on social media.
In that video, Mikovits says of COVID-19, “The idea of the spread so fast through a population just the way it was spread through the seafood market is highly unlikely and improbable.”
2. Mikovits Was Accused of Stealing Equipment & Keeping Laboratory Notebooks
Mikovits’ claims of persecution revolve around the story of her brief jailing.
Gladstone Observer reports that Mikovits was the subject of an “internet myth” dating to 2018 that she was “thrown in prison for research that led to the discovery that deadly retroviruses have been transmitted to 25 million Americans through human vaccines.” The Plandemic video resurrects elements of this claim, painting her arrest as unfair retribution.
The eventually dismissed criminal case against Mikovits received fairly extensive news coverage at the time. According to Science magazine, in November 2011, the district attorney in Washoe County, Nevada, filed a criminal complaint against Mikovits that “charged the virologist with illegally taking computer data and related property from her former employer, the Whittemore Peterson Institute for Neuro-Immune Disease (WPI) in Reno, Nevada.” (Heavy has reached out to the Whittemore Peterson Institute for comment on Mikovits.)
The Chicago Tribune reported that the “University of Nevada, Reno police issued an arrest warrant listing two felony charges: possession of stolen property and unlawful taking of computer data, equipment, supplies or other computer related property.”
In her book, Mikovits claims her “real crime” was “following the data and listening to the patients.” She claims her legal problems led to bankruptcy.
She was briefly jailed, but the DA later tossed the charges, Science magazine reports. (Heavy has contacted the district attorney’s office seeking comment and the original criminal complaint).
According to Science magazine, the WPI co-founder, Harvey Whittemore, was accused criminally in a separate campaign finance donation case, complicating the case against Mikovits due to witness issues. She told Science magazine that the case made it hard for her to find work, other than a study she was working on that was funded by National Institutes of Health. In 2014, Whittemore started serving a two-year sentence in federal prison “for breaking campaign contributions laws,” according to the Review Journal. A jury found that he funneled $133,400 in unlawful contributions “to the campaign of U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev,” the newspaper reported.
In the criminal case against Mikovits, Science magazine quoted the prosecutor as explaining why the charges were dismissed: “There’s a lot going on with the federal government and different levels that wasn’t occurring when we first became involved with prosecuting this case. And we have witness issues that have arisen.”
It’s true Mikovits faced bankruptcy at one point. Heavy has obtained the bankruptcy petition through the federal court system. You can read it here: Judy Mikovits Bankruptcy Filing. The section for personal property in the bankruptcy filing is a window into Mikovits’s professional troubles at the time.
She also filed a civil lawsuit against the Institute. You can read that here: Judy Mikovits Lawsuit. It includes these claims:
According to the docket, her lawsuit was dismissed. The court wrote, “Plaintiff is pro se and has failed to file proof of service in violation of the rules and the Court’s orders. Both of these facts independently merit dismissal of the claim.”
The WPI organization also filed a civil suit seeking materials from Mikovits including laboratory notebooks used for research. The New York Times reported that a lab employee, Max Pfost, said in an affidavit that “he took items at her request, stashing notebooks in his mother’s garage in Sparks, Nev., before turning them over to Dr. Mikovits.”
He claimed that “Mikovits informed me that she was hiding out on a boat to avoid being served with papers from W.P.I.,” Pfost said in the affidavit obtained by The Times.
Some argued that the judge in the case was biased because of campaign donations received from Whittemore.
A 2009 article in The New York Times says the Whittemore organization was founded as a result of Harvey and Annette Whittemore’s “desperation to find answers for an incurable disease.” The Times article reports that the Whittemores met Mikovits in 2006. The article says that, at that time, she was “a virus expert who had spent 22 years working at the National Cancer Institute.”
She left the institute in 2001 to get married and move to California, “where she went to work for a drug development company that failed,” the Times reported. “She was tending bar at a yacht club when a patron said her constant talk about viruses reminded him of someone he knew in Nevada.” That person connected her to Annette Whittemore, according to the newspaper. She started studying retroviruses for them. That same year, she linked retroviruses to autism.
The institute describes itself as “a non-profit medical research institute dedicated to the support of those with a spectrum of neuro-immune diseases (NIDs) including: myalgic encephalomyelitis, (ME), fibromyalgia, and similar complex chronic diseases of the immune system and the brain.”
Science magazine reported in 2011 that, according to WPI, “after Mikovits was terminated on 29 September, she wrongfully removed laboratory notebooks and kept other proprietary information on her laptop and in flash drives and in a personal e-mail account.” The group “won a temporary restraining order that forbids Mikovits from ‘destroying, deleting, or altering’ any of the related files or data.”
In 2011, Nature.com reported that Mikovits “lost a civil lawsuit filed by her former employer.” The site reported that WPI’s lawyer released a statement saying, “At yesterday’s civil hearing, the Honorable Brent Adams found that Dr. Mikovits’ degree of non-compliance with the court’s orders was willful and deliberate without justification. Consequently, the judge entered a default judgment in favor of Whittemore Peterson Institute and also awarded the Institute attorney’s fees. Most importantly to the Institute, today’s ruling requires immediate return of all misappropriated materials.”
The article claims she spent four nights in jail.
Heavy has reached out to Mikovits for comment through her publisher.
Kennedy wrote in Mikovits’ book that it was her “obligation to retain all her research papers” and said she “languished in a cell.” He painted her as a figure of persecution for her scientific integrity. He wrote that Judy Mikovits is “heir to … martyrs and, more directly, to a long line of scientists, whom public health officials have punished, exiled, and ruined specifically for committing heresy against reigning vaccine orthodoxies.” Kennedy has spoken out against vaccines before, although he denies he’s anti-vaccine.
3. Mikovits Was a Co-Author on a Scientific Research Study Into Chronic Fatigue Syndrome That Was Retracted
The unraveling of Mikovits’ career as a scientific researcher dates to a single paper from 2009. Mikovits was a co-author in a paper called Detection of an Infectious Retrovirus, XMRV, in Blood Cells of Patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. When the research study first came out, it received national headlines and acclaim. Her reputation and career unraveled two years later in spectacular fashion when the research study was retracted.
The Chicago Tribune reported in 2011 that the study, which was published in 2009, had consequences, writing, “The lead researcher, Judy Mikovits, began making sweeping unsupported statements about the finding, including tying XMRV to autism without publishing any data to support that statement. Some CFS patients began taking potent antiretroviral drugs meant to treat HIV.”
The New York Times reported that a “commercial lab associated with the Whittemore Peterson Institute began marketing screening tests for XMRV, the hypothesized cause of chronic fatigue syndrome, costing hundreds of dollars.” Two years after the study came out, it was retracted and repudiated by Mikovits’ scientific peers.
The abstract for the debunked 2009 study reads:
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a debilitating disease of unknown etiology that is estimated to affect 17 million people worldwide. Studying peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from CFS patients, we identified DNA from a human gammaretrovirus, xenotropic murine leukemia virus–related virus (XMRV), in 68 of 101 patients (67%) as compared to 8 of 218 (3.7%) healthy controls. Cell culture experiments revealed that patient-derived XMRV is infectious and that both cell-associated and cell-free transmission of the virus are possible. Secondary viral infections were established in uninfected primary lymphocytes and indicator cell lines after their exposure to activated PBMCs, B cells, T cells, or plasma derived from CFS patients. These findings raise the possibility that XMRV may be a contributing factor in the pathogenesis of CFS.
At the time of the study’s publishing, Mikovits was still working as research director for the Whittemore Peterson Institute. The 2009 study was published in a prestigious journal and was expected to represent a breakthrough, Snopes reports, as it suggested a “viral cause” for chronic fatigue syndrome.
In 2011, the journal Science published an “editorial Expression of Concern.” In summarizing the research findings, the expression of concern noted that the article claimed “to show that a retrovirus called XMRV (xenotropic murine leukemia virus–related virus) was present in the blood of 67% of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome.”
However, other studies could not replicate the findings. “Since then, at least 10 studies conducted by other investigators and published elsewhere have reported a failure to detect XMRV in independent populations of CFS patients,” the expression of concern notes. Instead, there was a growing view that any association “likely reflects contamination of laboratories and research reagents with the virus,” the notation states.
The journal noted that the research “attracted considerable attention, and its publication in Science has had a far-reaching impact on the community of CFS patients and beyond.” However, because “the validity of the study by Lombardi et al. is now seriously in question, we are publishing this Expression of Concern and attaching it to Science’s 23 October 2009 publication by Lombardi et al.”
The authors issued a partial retraction of their findings, but the paper was later retracted in full. Mikovits was one of multiple authors listed on the study.
In the retraction, Bruce Alberts, the editor-in-chief, wrote that there “is evidence of poor quality control in a number of specific experiments in the Report” and noted that other studies couldn’t replicate the findings. “Science has lost confidence in the Report and the validity of its conclusions. We note that the majority of the authors have agreed in principle to retract the Report but they have been unable to agree on the wording of their statement,” Alberts wrote. “… We are therefore editorially retracting the Report.”
A 2012 release from the American Society of Microbiology says: “Contrary to previous findings, new research finds no link between chronic fatigue syndrome and the viruses XMRV (xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus) and pMLV (polytropic murine leukemia virus).”
Fauci played a role in the ultimate discrediting of the research; according to Discover magazine, “the NIH’s AIDS czar, Anthony Fauci, asked his friend Ian Lipkin, a neurologist and virus hunter at the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, to settle the impasse” — the debate about the findings. Lipkin’s findings demonstrated that “XMRV was not actually a human pathogen … but a man-made contaminant unwittingly manufactured in a lab in the 1990s,” the magazine reported.
Mikovits participated in Lipkin’s study and also concluded that it was “the definitive answer. … There is no evidence that XMRV is a human pathogen.”
4. Mikovits, Who Volunteered as a Bartender for a Yacht Club & Is Married to a Former Health Care Agency Personnel Director, Was Fired After an Alleged Laboratory ‘Power Struggle’
In the wake of the retracted article, Mikovits lost her job. According to Nature, she was fired in October 2011 after “she clashed with the institute’s president and co-founder, Annette Whittemore, over the work of another researcher.”
The Nature article claims that Mikovits wasn’t fired because of the retracted research paper but rather due to a “laboratory power struggle.” She was accused of refusing to allow another researcher into a lab to work with a cell line. According to Nature, Mikovits claimed that such an experiment would have been outside federal funding requirements.
According to Nature, the following day, a blogger “posted a figure from a 2009 paper that Mikovits co-authored in Science alongside one that Mikovits used in a recent presentation. The two figures, which are used to describe different results, look identical, except for the labelling.” Mikovitz defended the changes, saying they were appropriate.
A lengthy article on Mikovits in 2014 in the Ventura County Star provided some colorful details on her life. It said she has gone by the name Judy Nolde and gave an interview “sitting in her 38-foot fishing boat in a racket club cap and flip-flops.”
Her husband’s name is David Nolde, and, when she was working in the WPI lab, she split her time between it and their home in near Channel Islands Harbor. She “served on a race committee at the Pierpont Bay Yacht Club, volunteering her services as a club bartender,” the article reported, adding that she “worked with cancer patients at Community Presbyterian Church in Ventura, where her husband was a church elder” and was inspired to research by her grandfather’s cancer death.
The article describes Mikovits’ arrest, claiming that an officer “came from the bushes.” Of the notebooks raised in the theft case, she told Ventura Star, “If we had left those notebooks unsecured, patient names would have been exposed. It’s like letting your credit card information get out.” She told the newspaper the notebooks “are being held under permanent court injunction, meaning she can’t touch them.” The newspaper says her husband was previously “personnel director at the Ventura County Health Care Agency.”
5. Mikovits Has Conducted Research on HIV & Was Influenced to Study Science Because of Her Grandfather’s Cancer
A 2009 article in the Reno Gazette-Journal describes how Mikovits’ grandfather was diagnosed with lung cancer when she was 12. Her parents were divorced, so she and her twin sister lived with their grandparents.
The article discussed how Mikovits believed chronic fatigue syndrome carried a stigma because some people felt it was the result of emotional or psychological problems. XMRV, believed by her then to be a “new infectious human retrovirus,” made CFS sufferers feel better because there was a known cause for their ailment. At least, that is, until the research fell apart.
Mikovits worked on HIV early on in her career, but it wasn’t the focus of the controversial research study that hit the headlines later on.
An old government bio for her says Mikovits has a Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biology from George Washington University. It continues:
Her doctoral research focused on HIV-1 latency under the direction of Francis Ruscetti. Dr. Mikovits performed postdoctoral work on the molecular genetics of HTLV-1 under David Derse at the National Cancer Institute-FCRDC.
The mechanisms by which human retroviruses alter the function of the immune system and other host responses resulting in pathogenesis are not well understood. The current focus of our studies is to define viral and cellular factors involved in pathogenesis. Specifically, we have examined viral and cellular factors involved in regulating HIV infectivity and expression, cell death and mechanisms of immune dysfunction.
You can read a 1998 study she co-authored on HIV here. Discover magazine reports that “[d]uring her final two years at the (NCI) agency, she had directed the Lab of Antiviral Drug Mechanisms, where she studied therapies for AIDS as well as one of its associated cancers, Kaposi’s sarcoma.”
Another old bio for her says she also served “as a senior scientist at Biosource International, where she led the development of proteomic assays for the Luminex platform that is used extensively for cytokine activity assessment in therapy development” and served as “Chief Scientific Officer and VP Drug Discovery at Epigenx Biosciences, where she lead the development and commercialization of DNA methylation inhibitors for cancer therapy and of cell and array-based methylation assays for drug discovery and diagnostic development.”