Dec 23, 2011
It has been one hell of a year for Judy Mikovits, and the global scientific community is still reeling from the shock as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patients rekindle their hope for a cure.
After being fired from Reno, Nevada's Whittemore Peterson Institute for Neuro-Immune Diseases in September, Judy Anne Mikovits was arrested at her Ventura County, California home in November as a "fugitive from justice."
The scientist was locked up at jails in Santa Paula and Ventura and initially denied bail. After her appearance before a Ventura County Superior Court judge, bail was set for $100,000, then she was released in humiliation.
At first, Dr. Mikovits denied Nevada allegations that she removed notebooks and proprietary information from her former employer, the Whittemore Peterson Institute, where she had been the research director.
Mikovits later returned some but not all of the lab notebooks and one computer that allegedly had its hard drive wiped. Another computer is in the custody of police, but what is on it is allegedly top-secret.
Her former employer claims that Mikovits' own laboratory notebooks have yet to be returned as the drama apparently goes on into 2012.
Just days ago, a Nevada judge granted a default judgment in the civil lawsuit in favor of the institute, ordering Judy Mikovits to pay attorney's fees over alleged "misappropriation" of lab notebooks, computer data and trade secrets as well as breach of contract.
Mikovits still faces criminal charges for "possession of stolen property."
"WPI wins not because they have a judge or jury decide the merits in their favor, they win by default, literally," declared Scott Freeman, Mikovits' attorney in her criminal case.
If the scientist's criminal trial goes forward, Freeman expects it to take place in Spring 2012.
Mikovits had led the research effort that reported the retrovirus known as Xenotropic Murine leukemia virus-Related Virus (XMRV) as a possible cause of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Her findings sparked widespread criticism from the scientific establishment.
Judy Mikovits was eventually branded an outcast, then was fired by WPI. She left the Reno research facility and returned to her home in Southern California, where she was handcuffed by police officers and taken into custody --- an entire month later --- as a "fugitive."
The Mikovits Controversy
Dr. Mikovits had boldly asserted that the virus, XMRV, caused symptoms associated with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Parkinson's disease, Autism, Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimer's Disease, Fibromyalgia and Gulf War Syndrome.
More shocking, Mikovits stated that the virus is communicable. She also declared that the virus is "clearly circulating through the population" and that the virus has already entered the nation's blood supply.
The scientific establishment ultimately reacted to the findings with an aggressive front of denial, criticism and the discrediting of her years of research as loudly as possible.
Initially, Dr. Judy Mikovits garnered widespread recognition and acclaim after her findings were published in one of the world's premier journals, Science.
Her findings sparked hope in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patients and Dr. Mikovits' calendar began filling up with international speaking engagements.
Fast-forward to today:
Mikovits' scientific paper, welcomed by Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patients as a glimmer of hope, has been fully retracted by the editors of the journal, Science, who published the paper two years ago.
Their retraction formally removes the study from the scientific record, which means professional shame and separation for Dr. Judy Mikovits from the world's body of scientists.
"Science has lost confidence in the report and the validity of its conclusions," said editor-in-chief Bruce Alberts. "We regret the time and resources that the scientific community has devoted to unsuccessful attempts to replicate these results."
The Science editor put a rather damning capstone on the Judy Mikovits arrest and retraction drama of 2011 by declaring, "I think this whole thing has been a tragedy for science."
Crucify her as a heretic! Burn her at the stake as a witch! Stone her for her sins! Let her rot in prison as a criminal, forever stripped of any dignity!
It is surprising to see the myriad emotions displayed lately by a scientific community so proud of its stoic intellectualism.
One who is a criminal to some is a heroine to others. It is a matter of perspective.
It is said that the number of times a person falls is not as important as the number of times they get back up. Dr. Judy Mikovits will get back up and --- believe it or not --- many Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patients are counting on it.
JUNE 2012 UPDATE: Judy Mikovits Charges Dropped