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      Fired scientist back to peddling anti-vaxx COVID-19 conspiracy theories

      Jennifer Ouellette · news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Friday, 8 May, 2020 - 17:50 · 1 minute

    After her research career effectively ended, Dr. Judy Mikovits has re-emerged as an anti-vaccine activist.

    Enlarge / After her research career effectively ended, Dr. Judy Mikovits has re-emerged as an anti-vaccine activist. (credit: YouTube)

    Back in 2011, we covered the strange story of biochemist Judy Mikovits, who co-authored a controversial (and subsequently retracted) paper in the journal Science and eventually lost her prestigious position with a research institution. Now Mikovits is back in the news, having spent the ensuing years reinventing herself as a staunch anti-vaccine crusader.

    The COVID-19 pandemic has given her a new conspiracy to tout, this time targeting Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at NIH, who has become a prominent public spokesperson during the outbreak. Two interviews in particular have been spreading rapidly on social media, prompting YouTube and Facebook to remove both video clips for spreading medical misinformation during a global pandemic—a violation of their current policies

    In 2007, Mikovits met Robert Silverman at a conference. Silverman had co-discovered a retrovirus known as XMRV, closely related to a known virus from mice. He told her he had found XMRV sequences in specimens from prostate cancer patients, although other labs, using different sets of patients, could find no evidence of a viral infection. Nonetheless, this prompted Mikovits to use the same tools to look for XMRV in samples from patients suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)—a disorder some had claimed was purely psychosomatic.

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