A blog at Nature starts out succinctly: “The story keeps getting stranger.” In affidavits filed in the case of Judy Mikovits, the former Whittemore Peterson Institute (WPI) researcher who spearheaded the research which purported to link a mouse virus (XMRV) to chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). She also publicly stated, based on unpublished results, that there could be a link between XMRV and autism.
After being terminated by WPI, the Institute filed a civil lawsuit claiming that Ms. Mikovits was involved in removal of intellectual property. This resulted in her being arrested and jailed. She has since been released on US$100,000 bail.
What is interesting in this is that more details have become public about what is alleged to have occurred in the removal of the lab notebooks and other items from WPI. These items were not in Ms. Mikovits’ possession when she was let go, as many assumed. Rather, she instructed a former colleague to remove them for her.
In World-known researcher set to be released on bail, the Ventura County Star reports:
Before a civil hearing on Tuesday in Nevada, they filed an affidavit by another researcher at the institute. He said he took notebooks containing about five years of research involving several scientists away from the facility at Mikovits’ request.
The affidavits claim that Ms. Mikovits intended to use the information removed from WPI to take her research, including her grants, away from WPI. Where she intended to do this research is unclear as she apparently doesn’t have another position at this time.
Her grants were from the National Institutes of Health (NEW STRATEGIES TO DECIPHER THE PATHOPHYSIOLOGY OF CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME) which includes funding in 2009, 2010 and 2011, for $335,600, $311,316 and $302,866, respectively).
The Phoenix Rising blog has a more detailed description of the events.
It is a very, very strange story and it just keeps getting stranger.