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W. John Martin Stripped of License -- Is All His Work Bogus?

By Bob Huntington and Cheryl Tai with Gail Kansky

    W. John Martin, M.D., Ph.D. has been stripped of his license to do any clinical
laboratory testing and his clinical laboratory license has been suspended.  But does
he even have a laboratory to shut down anymore, and did he ever find a virus that
he has continued to call the "stealth virus"?  The most amazing fact we found out
was that his license suspension was due to the work of one lone individual who is
merely a patient! But let's give you some background first.

    Dr. Martin received his medical training in Australia and was the chief of the
Immunology/Molecular Pathology Unit at the LAC/USC (University of
California) Medical Center as well as a professor of pathology at the USC School
of Medicine.  He was the former director of the Viral Oncology Branch of the
FDA's (Federal Drug Administration) Bureau of Biologics which is the principal
agency in charge of testing human vaccines.  Before that, he worked at the
National Cancer Institute.  He emerged as a key player in ME/CFIDS research in
the late 1980's with a virus that he named a "stealth" virus.  By the early 90's, The
CFIDS Association had funded him for $231,000.  Dr. Martin had said he had
discovered "Epione" which was a "potential therapy of stealth viral infection."  He
named it after the wife of a Greek God of medicine known for skills in "soothing
pain".  He assured the CFIDS Association that Epione was already in stage 2
testing with an IND number through the federal government.  They cut off his
funding but never told the patient community why.  The reason they cut off
funding? They checked with the FDA and found out all Martin had told them
about the status of Epione was a lie.  If the CFIDS Association (CAA) had, at that
time, been more forthcoming about this to the patient community, which they
claim to represent, it may well have ended the destructive path that Martin was
taking.  But they kept those facts to themselves and have, subsequently, caused a
lot of harm to hundreds and, perhaps, thousands,  of patients in the decade since
this happened. When one of the authors of this piece asked Dr. Martin why the
CFIDS Association stopped funding him, he said it was a "mere

    Stealth viruses, according to Dr. Martin, "Do, indeed, exist and can be at the
root of many multi-system neuro degenerative illnesses such as Chronic Fatigue
Syndrome, fibromyalgia, attention deficit disorder, autism and other diseases
causing behavioral changes."  He also lists Lyme's Disease, Gulf War Illness, a
bevy of psychiatric illnesses and  oncogenic (cancerous) diseases. But nobody has
ever been able to replicate his findings in over a decade.  So why has his license
been pulled?

    Martin preyed upon patients who were desperately ill, telling them that he
knew what they had (a "stealth" virus) and only he could save them from their
"fatal" disease. His therapeutic regimen included antibiotics, antivirals, diet and
vitamins, neurontin, and other medications, including anti-depressants, that have
all been tried before and are not new.  What was different, was that he wanted you
to be "monitored" closely which includes lot of tests that he does and not "to
conclude a lack of long term benefit" for at least 4-6 months.  He thoroughly
frightened many by telling them that without funding for him, they had no chance.
One person who had been diagnosed with "CFS" scoured every area to find
donors, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars.  As a single mother of a young
child, she was frightened that her child would be left alone in this world.  But then
she found out facts that angered her and made her regret all the efforts she had
made to raise funds for Martin.  She, single-handedly, found out the truth about W.
John Martin and is working to expose the truth.

    The university where he had his laboratory had him physically removed by
security guards in December of 1995!  Despite the closure of his laboratory,
William John Martin's  curriculum vitai (CV) listed his professorship and
laboratory at University of California's Department of Pathology and the NCF is
in possession of a copy of his 1997-8 CV. Despite being removed from the
University, Martin is a tenured professor and the University will only say he is on
"indefinite leave."  Martin told patients that their blood was being monitored by
the State of California.  When this was checked out, the state denied ever receiving
any serum, let alone "monitoring" any for him.  One patient filed a complaint with
the State of California Health and Human Services Agency who sent Martin a
letter dated September 15, 2002 which stated, "Your CIJA certificate was
suspended by Centers for Medicaid Services and your laboratory's approval to
receive Medicare and Medicaid payments was canceled, effective August 27,
2002.  Your state clinical study license, CLF 10919, has therefore been suspended
effective August 27, 2002.  You must CEASE and DESIST all clinical laboratory
testing immediately if your laboratory is currently performing tests.  This
information must be reflected in your website  You may not
perform any clinical laboratory test until you are reinstated and your California
clinical laboratory license is reactivated.  If you have any questions, please call
me....".  The letter was signed by the chief of the Facilities Licensing Section.
There are multiple allegations of fraud now facing W. John Martin and the
depositions may have already begun by the time you are reading this report.

    When we checked his website in late January, there was nothing to indicate that
he no longer was testing.  In fact, there was still a link to tell you about stealth
virus testing and how suggestions, upon testing, would be "relayed to your
physician." So we e-mailed the webmaster, Carolyn Viviani.  Our message
bounced back.  We called The Heritage Foundation on January 29th.  They are "an
'umbrella' tax deductible Foundation that houses and facilitates many
organization's funding" according to the Martin's website.  Veronica Flagge,
"who is monitoring the donations" said she "was not told about losing any clinic
license" but that Martin had not received any funding since last summer.  

     The National CFIDS Foundation did not bother to call Dr. Martin.  Two of our
board members have already had several lengthy conversations with him in the
past with the same result.  Dr. Martin is a prolific conversationalist who always
talks in circles and never really answers any pointed questions.  

    There are hundreds and hundreds of patients who have been scared by the
tactics of Dr. Martin but one woman did something about it and hasn't finished her
work yet. She's been in touch with a journalist about this story and a story aired on
February 13, 2003 about there being no such thing as a "stealth virus" (Los
Angeles NBC TV). One member of the CDC on the TV news program said they
were unable to replicate any of Dr. Martin's work on the stealth virus.  The CDC
holds little validity with us, however, as their own track record leaves a lot to be
desired.  The television report had the reporter going to Martin's house to
interview him after leaving several messages which went unanswered and going
there twice before.  This time, Martin was in his driveway.  When he saw her
approach, he ran, leaving his sandals behind in the driveway!  Others trying to
reach him since have reported that his voicemail has been inactivated.

    There is a "Stealth Virus" group on the internet where one must be invited to be
join.  One of our own board members has reported Martin has pointedly ignored
any questions about the NBC broadcast on the group list. (It is not difficult to join
other groups under a different name than your own.) The postings to this group are
heavily monitored and those asking questions that Martin does not want to answer
are never posted to the group. The group shut down for weeks at a time after the
TV story aired.

The National CFIDS Foundation * 103 Aletha Rd, Needham Ma 02492 * (781) 449-3535 Fax (781) 449-8606