The researcher-turned-anti-vaccine activist whose work was publicly redacted by a leading journal resurfaced in May 2020 to attack National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Anthony Fauci and accuse him of spreading disinformation regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
Judy Mikovits has been featured in a spate of posts promoting her book criticizing Fauci, including a 25-minute video that was shared more than 68,000 times on Facebook. “What he’s saying is propaganda,” she claims in the video, which was also posted to — and subsequently removed from — YouTube. On May 7, 2020 journalist Meira Gebel reported that the video, circulating under the name “Plandemic,” was removed from Facebook as well.
In the video, Mikovits regurgitates a number of questionable claims surrounding treatment of the virus, including support for hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug that was promoted by President Donald Trump as a possible remedy despite a lack of scientific evidence — and in some cases fatal side effects — associated with it.
The video also shows footage of Daniel Erickson and Artin Massihi, two widely-criticized health providers, arguing that maintaining physical distancing and covering one’s mouth and nose while going out actually makes a person more vulnerable against the virus. Their claims have been widely and roundly debunked.
“Wearing the mask literally activates your own virus,” she says. “You’re getting sick from your own coronavirus expressions. And if it happens to be SARS-CoV2, then you’ve got a big problem.”
Mikovits is perhaps best known for being the lead researcher in an October 2009 published in the journal Science linking chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) to a mouse virus called xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus, or XMRV for short. According to Mikovits and her team at the Whittemore Peterson Institute for Neuro-Immune Disease (WPI) they found evidence of the mouse virus in 67 percent of 101 patients who reported dealing with CFS.
More than two years later, the journal’s editor-in-chief Bruce Alberts issued a full retraction of her team’s work saying that the publication “has lost confidence in the Report and the validity of its conclusions.” As Science reported at the time:
Soon after publication, researchers around the world began reporting that they could not find the virus in CFS patients. One group discovered that XMRV was likely created in laboratory experiments with mice that made an immortalized cell line to study prostate cancer, and another showed that variants of this line had evolved more than isolates of XMRV, exactly the opposite of what would be expected if the mouse virus truly infected humans and was subject to immune pressure. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services organized a nine-lab study to assess whether the blood supply was at risk from XMRV or related mouse retroviruses. This so-called Blood Working Group—which included the researchers from WPI and NCI who co-authored the original Science study using whatever assays they chose—reported online 22 September in Science that no one could reliably detect the virus in previously positive samples from patients.
Alberts says the Blood Working Group finding was the final straw that led Science to request the full retraction. “The blood group study to me was dramatic evidence of poor science,” says Alberts. “It gave us absolutely no confidence in the ability of the major labs involved to do the assays. I find that enormously disturbing.” NCI’s Francis Ruscetti, a prominent retrovirologist and one of the co-authors, attempted to coordinate a retraction with his colleagues but a dispute arose over wording that suggested some of the findings in the original paper were still valid. “We tried to get all of the authors to agree, but it got endless,” says Alberts. “The responsibility that Science magazine has to the scientific community is to make a strong statement that we don’t think anything in that paper can be relied on.”
Two months before the journal issued its retraction, Mikovits was fired from WPI. She was also arrested, briefly jailed, and at one point faced both civil and criminal charges for allegedly stealing a computer, notebooks, and other material from the institute. The criminal charges against her were dropped in June 2012. In the video, she accuses authorities of planting the notebooks in her home and claims that officials “terrorized” her husband following her arrest.
Footage used as B-roll starting at about 2:02 in the video showing a law enforcement raid was actually from an unrelated March 2020 murder case in Santa Ana, California. OnSceneTV, the company that originally shot the footage, rejected any connection to its use in the video profile of Miskovits in a post on its Instagram account:
There’s a documentary on YouTube and being shared on social media about the Coronavirus. In the documentary, there is stolen OnScene TV video of a SWAT raid(which isn’t even related to the raid that the documentary is talking about but they threw it in there to make it seem like it is the actual raid). This video was ripped off either our YouTube or our website. We did not authorize the use or provide footage to the documentary. We have not watched the full video so we can’t comment on it’s validity but we would like to state again that the raid video has nothing to do with Coronavirus and was a raid searching for a murder suspect. We also are not taking any side in the Coronavirus debate. If you see the Coronavirus video, please note we have no connection to it.
“It was intended to appear as if I took confidential material, names, and intellectual property from the laboratory, and I can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that I didn’t” Miskovits said of her arrest. “Heads of our entire [Department of Health and Human Services] colluded and destroyed my reputation and the Department of Justice and the FBI sat on it.”
She also claims that Fauci “directed the coverup” that ultimately sabotaged her career.
“In fact, everybody else was paid off and paid off big-time. Millions of dollars in funding from Tony Fauci, Tony Fauci’s organization,” she says in the video. “These investigators that committed the fraud continue to this day.”
On May 4 2020, Mikovits claimed that Trump watched an interview promoting her book.
“Yay! President Trump listened to my words!” she wrote on Twitter.
5/6/2020, 7:05pm: Updated to add information about footage used in the video. -bb
5/6/2020, 8:44pm: Updated to add comment from OnSceneTV about the use of its footage.
5/7/2020, 1:41pm: Updated to note the removal of the video from Facebook.