Judy Mikovits did not discover human gamma retroviruses (HGRV) alone, and the accomplishments of those who collaborated with her lend credence and integrity to her research.
The discovery of contamination in the VP62 clone and a mistake with a presentation slide are not justification for discounting the knowledge and experience of all those who collaborated in the discovery of HGRV in patients with ME.
Since I am limited in space, I can only describe a few:
Dr. Frank A. Ruscetti is known as the father of retroviruses. (Wikipedia) He was one of the team who first isolated HTLV in Robert Gallo’s lab. He also discovered the interleukin 2 cytokine.
Dr. Sandra Ruscetti began her work at NCI on the pathogenesis of mouse retroviruses (gamma retroviruses) in 1975.
She has been studying retroviruses that cause leukemia or neurological disease in rodents to obtain information on how molecular changes in normal cells can result in pathological consequences.
Shyh-Ching Lo and Harvey J. Alter in their 2010 paper entitled “Detection of MLV-related Virus Gene Sequences in Blood of Patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Healthy Blood Donors” stated:
"Although we find evidence of a broader group of MLV-related viruses, rather than just XMRV, in patients with CFS and healthy blood donors, our results clearly support the central argument by Lombardi et al. that MLV-related viruses are associated with CFS and are present in some blood donors."
Harvey J. Alter is an NIH virologist who is best best known for his work that led to the discovery of the hepatitis C virus.
He was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal and the 2000 Albert Lasker Award for Clinical Medical Research.
Shyh-Ching Lo is the Director of the Tissue Safety Laboratory Program Division of Cellular and Gene Therapy Research at the FDA.
Dr. Judy Mikovits worked for Frank Ruscetti at the National Cancer Institute in Maryland during the 1980s, completed a joint PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and specialized in virus-caused cancers. For over 22 years at the National Cancer Institute, she investigated how viruses dysregulate the immune response to cause cancer.
She became interested in the Whittemore-Peterson research institute when she attended the HHV-6 Virus Conference in 2006.
At that conference, Dr. Dan Peterson reported that nine of his CFS patients had the rare cancer Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma (NHL). Even more striking, some of them had the specific type of lymphoma called Mantle Cell Lymphoma (MCL) that is even more rare. It strikes 1 out of every 100,000 people.
Dr. Mikovits went to the Whittemore-Peterson Institute to look more closely at these patients.
Mikovits was joined by some of the most prominent researchers from the National Cancer Institute. This led to the research paper:
Identification of Differentially Expressed Viruses in American CFS Patients Probed with a Custom Mammalian Virus Microarray. Judy Mikovits, V. Lombardi, Y. Huang, D. Peterson and F. Ruscetti.
Mikovits and collaborators used the latest technology for identifying viruses – microarrays -- which search for bits of RNA and DNA unique to a pathogen. This particular microarray looked for evidence of all known mammalian viruses, and it held multiple aspects of every known mammalian virus.
What they found was:
“The average chronic fatigue syndrome patient on the day they were tested had between 30-50 viruses; the average healthy control patient had 3 or 4” -- Dr. Daniel Peterson, 2008 Swedish Conference. On the other hand, the healthy controls had 3 or 4 common cold viruses (rhinoviruses/adenoviruses).
Mikovitz and collaborators next looked for evidence that these patient’s immune systems had viral induced immune dysfunction. This led to the research paper:
Serum Cytokine and Chemokine Profiles of Individuals with ME/CFS Distinguish Unique Subgroups Among Patient Populations. Vincent Lombardi, D. Redelman, D. White, M. Fremont, K. DeMeirleir, D. Peterson, J. Mikovits
They did the cytokine signature of these patients and it matched the viruses they had found.
Further research into viruses in patients with ME/CFS led to the discovery of human gamma retroviruses (improperly named XMRV) and publication in Science in Oct. 2009 of the paper :
Detection of an Infectious Retrovirus, XMRV, in Blood Cells of Patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Vincent C. Lombardi, Francis W. Ruscetti, Jaydip Das Gupta, Max A. Pfost, Kathryn S. Hagen, Daniel L. Peterson, Sandra K. Ruscetti, Rachel K. Bagni, Cari Petrow-Sadowski, Bert Gold, Michael Dean, Robert H. Silverman and Judy A. Mikovits