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Why Couldn’t Autism be the Result of a Monkey Virus?

Monkey_scratch_headBy Kent Heckenlively, Esq.

Even when you’ve taken on a case as an attorney you keep investigating the claims of your client.  Because there are few things worse than sitting across the table in arbitration when the other side makes an assertion you’ve never heard before. 

You start to sit back in your chair because you’re certain your client would’ve told you of such a fact, but then see your client starting to sweat.  You call a recess, take your client outside to find out what’s going on, only to find a good deal of your case has now crumbled.

It’s because I’ve had that happen a few times in my legal career that I continue to research the question of monkey viruses and autism, despite having spent many hours in conversation with Dr. Martin and various parents who are using his therapy with their children.  It's a theory which keeps me scratching my head because it seems to come from so far out of left field.

But you go where the evidence leads you.  And the issue of monkey virus contamination of the vaccine supply is a controversy people besides Dr. Martin have been working on for years. 

The best written account of the contamination of the polio vaccine with monkey viruses is found in the book “The Virus and the Vaccine” by Debbie Bookchin, and Jim Schumacher. The book is based on an article they originally published in the Atlantic Monthly in 2000 and earned a selection in the Harper Collins book “Best Science Writing 2001.”  I recommend the book to anyone interested in the controversy.

According to the authors, between 1958 and 1963 (and possibly even until 2001), more than 98 million people received polio vaccines contaminated with a carcinogenic monkey vaccine, known as SV-40.  (SV-40 stands for “simian virus #40”.  That’s right, they’ discovered 39 previous monkey viruses in the vaccine before they got to #40.)

And amazingly, a familiar name pops up in this account, Maurice Hilleman.  When it was discovered that SV-40 had infected the supply of polio vaccine, and that it was causing cancer in laboratory animals in alarming numbers, Hilleman told the Public Health Service Technical Committee on June 20, 1961 that all the Salk polio vaccines, even his own Purivax vaccine should be withdrawn for six months while these problems were studied. (Hilleman was among the first to sound the alarm at Merck about the high level of thimerosal children would be exposed to when the vaccination schedule was changed in the late 1980s and early 1990s.)

In what can only be looked upon as a preview of what would later happen with thimerosal and autism, the public health authorities did not take these concerns seriously, and in many instances, attempted to wreck the careers of those scientists who asked questions.

While the SV-40 virus has been linked to five different types of cancer; lymphomas, brain cancers, bone cancers, leukemia, and mesothelioma, the authors of “The Virus and the Vaccine” concentrated on the link to mesothelioma.  Mesothelioma is a fatal cancer which attacks the lining that surrounds the abdominal cavity, lungs, and heart.  It is associated with exposure to asbestos, but in about 40% of the cases there is no evidence of asbestos exposure.  (Could this explain some of the autistic children who did not get vaccinations, or who according to their parents, were born that way?)  Mesothelioma kills about 2,500 people a year in the United States and is expected to kill some 250,000 people world-wide between 2000 and 2030.

While I understand that Dr. Martin’s theory concerns the simian cytomegalovirus (SCMV)and not SV-40, the difference between the two might not be as great as first appears since the two have a tendency to “swap” genes and behave in similar manners.

Switching from my lawyer hat to my science teacher hat, I found the following assertions in “The Virus and the Vaccine” to be supportive of Dr. Martin’s claims of a monkey virus contribution to autism.

• In mesothelioma SV-40 secretes an antigen which suppresses p53, the body’s main cancer suppressor gene.

• Mesothelial cells contain 4 to 5 times more p53 than other cells.  (My next question to research is whether the brain contains a large amount of p53 cells.  My inclination is to say yes as I recall reading that of all the cancers, the least likely for a child to get is a brain tumor.  It would make sense then that a child would have large amount of p53 in their brains, but I don’t yet know that for a fact.)

• SV-40 does different things in different cells and is very disruptive of cell physiology.  One scientist described it as looking like a tiny bomb went off in the cell.

• SV-40 can accelerate cell growth.  (This made me think of the observed cellular overgrowth in the brains of children with autism.)

• The main scientist who is studying SV-40, Micheal Carbone, (associate professor of pathology at Loyola University Medical School, and researcher at Loyola’s Cardinal Bernadin Cancer Center) believes SV-40 works in concert with other immuno-suppressant carcinogens.  In mesothelioma it is asbestos, but it makes me wonder why a similar argument couldn’t be made for Dr. Martin’s simian cytomegalovirus and thimerosal or aluminum.

• Investigations of p53 levels in children with autism have found altered levels of this gene.  (“Levels of Bcl-2 and P53 are Altered in Superior Frontal and Cerebellar Cortices of Autistic Subjects”, Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology, Volume 23, Number 6, pp. 945-952)

The science of this subject is extremely complicated and I’m the first to admit there’s still a great deal I don’t fully understand.  But there are a few things which stand out quite clearly to me.

The widespread dispersal of monkey viruses in the general population through the polio vaccination campaign is well-documented.  More controversial is whether these viruses are leading to an increase in cancers, and whether money viruses could be implicated in autism.

I can’t provide any personal testimony on Dr. Martin’s protocol as it was determined that one of the agents used in the treatment had expired.  If in the future you do the treatment and the towel placed on your child’s body doesn’t start to glow when the UV light is turned on like something from some spooky Halloween special effect, you’ve got a bad batch.  A new batch is being prepared and tested, with the hope it can be distributed by November 1.  (Yes, I do sometimes get the feeling God really likes to test my patience!)

But aside from the problems to be expected in an "investigational study", the more I look at issue of monkey viruses and human health the more I believe the whole story hasn’t gotten out to the public.

In a June 2003 article in “The Lancet”, one of Dr. Carbone’s colleagues, Janet Butel surveyed every published finding looking for SV-40 in human tumors.  The article summed up the results from nearly 1,900 tumor samples and more than 1,650 controls.  They found the when SV-40 was combined with lymphoma the odds ratio was five, for brain cancers it was four, for bone cancers it was twenty-five, and for mesothelioma it was seventeen.  For comparison’s sake, it was an odds ratio of ten which linked smoking with cancer.

I wonder what the odds ratio would be for the finding of Dr. Martin’s simian cytomegalovirus in our children with autism.  I expect it would be similarly high.

I hope to give you my own personal report by Thanksgiving, God willing.  Excuse me now while I venture off to church to burn a couple prayer candles for the hopes of all our children.

Kent Heckenlively is Legal Editor for Age of Autism.


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I am retracting my original statement that this study is good. I am now of the opposite opinion as my child SERIOUSLY regressed from an expired product. There are several children who have had serious to mild reactions from the expired and new products being offered and endorsed through this study. These children have been ignored by Dr. W. John Martin and he made it quite clear during a recorded conference call on Nov, 23, 2008 that he was not committed to these children and would only provide one charge to their system and that is it. No other product can be obtained. I would also strongly suggest that people beware of BJ McKelvie as he has maliciously slandered me and others all over the ACE Pathways website and through emails and telephone calls which are all blatant lies.

This is not different than offering one treatment of chemotherapy, then shoving a cancer patient out the door and telling them they are on their own.

I was a study monitor and I was told in writing, on the site and from Dr. W. John Martin & BJ McKelvie that this study was approved by Health Canada and the FDA. I have NOT been able to find anything to support this and would strongly advise that anyone looking at the study use extreme caution before proceeding.

I have read, with interest, your article about SV40. I am an attorney that has had cases involving polio vaccines, both as to paralytic poliomyelitis as well as SV40. As to the paralytic poliomyelitis cases please see Berkovitz v. United States, 486 U.S. 531; In Re Sabin, 743 F. Supp. 410, 763 F.Supp. 811, 774 F. Supp. 952, aff’d 984 F. 2d 124 (CA4 1993); Baker v. United States, 817 F.2d 560 (9th Cir. 1987); Loge v. United States, 662 F.2d 1268 (1982); Griffin v. United States, 351 F. Supp. 10, aff’d 500 F.2d 1059 (CA3, 1974); Campagna v. American Cyanamid, 767 A.2d 996 (NJ 2001); Williams v. American Cyanamid, 591 F.Supp. 381 (1984); Cortez Strong v. American Cyanamid Co. et al., Cause No. 99-08880 (Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis, 22d Judicial Circuit) fn; berk sup crt, in re sabin, loge, griffin, baker Williams ohio, strong, campagna). As to SV40 cases please see Horwin v. American Home Products, Inc., No. 00 CV 04523 (C.D. Cal., May 12, 2003); Rivard v. American Home Products, Inc., 391 N.J.Super. 129, 917 A.2d 286 (App. Div. 2007).

I have also published in peer-reviewed journals on this issue - Anticancer Res. 20/6C (2000) 4745-4750; J. Natl. Cancer Inst. 94(3): 229-229 (2002). As you are aware, oral polio vacien is no longer manufactured in the United States. It was my position, both before the Institutes of Medicine (Immunization Safety Review: SV40 Contamination of Polio Vaccine and Cancer,
http://www.nap.edu/catalog/10534.html. I have testified before Congress; Hearing Before the Subcommittee on Human Rights and Wellness, 108 Cong. 1st Sess., Nov. 13, 2003, Serial No. 108-127, available at
as well as in litigation, that the oral polio vaccine was contaminated with SV40 up until it was last sold in 1999. There was some early contamination with SV40 in IPV but I have no indication one way or the other whether the recent IPV vaccine was or was not contaminated. The process for getting rid of SV40 in IPV vaccine was much easier than an OPV vaccine.

If you are interested in reviewing any of these mateiarls you can find most of them in reported decisions and in the published material. If you have any information on SV40 and autism I would greatly appreciate you furnishing me the same.

Thank you,
Stanley P. Kops

Tony Bateson,

It sounds like you might be new here.


Lots of people are working independently, and now (more and more) together and uncovering truths about autism, including the fact that vaccines can, and frequently do, cause autism.

It's seems not quite correct to say "No vaccines=no autism," since there have been a few cases mentioned here of unvaccinated children with autism. But you are working on a very central truth, which has also been stated as "more vaccines=more autism."
Lots more.

Another study, done by Generation Rescue, on vaccinated vs. unvaccinated children may also be of interest to you (www.generationrescue.org). You may also be familiar with, or interested in, the work of Dr. Russell Blaylock, MD.

The most important thing, in my opinion, is to work together (politically, grassroots, or both) to get real information out to the people who need it most. And then to CHANGE what's happening!

I've looked briefly at your website and I'm impressed by what I've seen so far. I very much hope you will join your energy with those of us here at AOA--we don't agree on everything--see some of the recent political comments :)--but we have *plenty* of common ground to move forward!

Terri Lewis

I started asking the many hundreds of parents of autistic children I knew from the point Andrew Wakefield indicated that vaccines might be involved in autism.

I put up a web site, wrote to hundreds of medics and researchers, visited the USA in Nov 2002 when I told the Geiers of my search, then spoke at about 20 other conferences, total parent/professional numbers over 2,000, had more than twenty newspaper articles (including national press), a few radio broadcasts and so on. Results still no unvaccinated autistic people in this country where about two and a half millions of kids have not had childhood vaccines. Conclusion; no vaccines = no autism.

Tony Bateson www.autismobserved.net

My sister got CMV in the 70's which we now know came from the monkey virus. She was the first case known in New York City. She was horribly sick for a whole year and had to stay in bed.

CMV IN BLOOD SUPPLY: in 1994 I got 2 units of blood transfused after a car accident. I turned orange and got very sick within 6 weeks. Although negative at first, a follow up HepC test was positive BUT in the meantime CMV tests were done. So it seems to me the profession considered this a routine contaminant in the blood supply. Tighter screening tests were implemented in 1998 so I don't know if CMV would be screened out after that. Just a real life experience that indicates viral contamination may be common in our population. And after the polio vaccine - is that why doctors suspect CMV when patients get sick after transfusion?

Sorry for the error in the link. It should be:

SV40 did got into the scientific literature.
But when they find contaminant, they never publish it in a scientific journal or anywhere. When they do not find a suspected contaminant they do publish that in a journal like Biologicals but not when they actually do find something.

Amanda-I can't see for the life of me why it would make you sick that some people have had success and rid their children of what has to be for some children a "private hell"-sure some people with Aspergers and maybe even some people with autism are happy with the way they are and they can even express this. On the other hand, I think some recovered children are a lot better off now that they can more effectively communicate. Neurodiversity is fine-we all have different brains-but you can't tell me that some of these children with severe autism are o.k. with it. Yes, in SOME cases there may be a genetic basis.

I usually don't comment on my own articles but I thought I should bring up a few important points.

I checked with the California medical authorities before my first article ran and Dr. Martin is licensed to practice medicine and has no complaints listed in public records. The web-site which stated his medical license was stripped, is, to the best of my knowledge, false.

As to Janine Robert's Book, "Fear of the Invisible", I'm currently reading it, although I understand it makes some claims the viruses are not to be feared, which I believe goes a bit beyond current evidence.

However, on page 10 of the book I found the following passage:

"I met also with Professor John Martin, who held the chair of pathology at the University of Southern California. He told me he was sure other monkey viruses must have been in the vaccine alongside SV40. He had tracked down one of these; it was cytomegalovirus (SCMV) from African Green Monkeys. He suspected it as having a role in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. This was getting more horrifying. SV40 might only be the tip of the iceberg. If one monkey virus got in, scores of others might have got in, too.

How could this happen? Dr. Maurice Hilleman, whom I had interviewed previously about MMR made a presentation at the workshop on how they found SV40 in the polio vaccine back in 1961!"

For the reader who commented that we should leave it to the experts, I've waited nine years for an answer to my daughter's problems. If you're comfortable to wait, be my guest!

All the best,
Kent Heckenlively

Harold: didn't mean to ignore, I just got busy the last little while. I have to say that I haven't specifically looked up much to do with Dr. Martin-obviously there seems to be reason for caution (from reading some of the comments) Thank you for the link and I will try to delve into this. There are so many theories coming out now as to the causes of autism and I think it's good to keep an open mind with regard to them -I do believe one way or another that the vaccines either trigger or cause the problem.
I find this SV-40 stuff intriquing because a few years ago when I was beyond exhausted I tested positive for cytomegalovirus (didn't even think to ask if it was the human or simian kind!! haha)
I remember reading in one of those alternative health magazines about 15 years ago about SV-40 and I actually called up Connaught Laboratories and asked if it was true. The poor girl at the 1-800 desk took a few days to get back to me and she seemed shocked herself to look into it and tell me that, yes, it was true. I asked if there were any particular "lots" or batches that she could track and she said, "no, it was across the board."
Bottom line for me these days its that there really isn't an impressive study out there (the Columbia one doesn't even have a proper control group) that says there is no link between vaccination and all the different problems (SIDS, ADHD,autism,asthma etc.) I just wish that more of the scientist and medical community would have an open mind.

@ Amanda,
Yeah, I'm sure my son would like us to accept the fact that he's in constant pain from severe bowel disease and just tell him to suck it up. Wouldn't life be easier if we ignored the fact that he has severe immune dysfunction and is at risk for greater health issues later in life because of it.
Who are you to judge what other people are doing for THEIR children? You'd rather we ignore our son's cry for help when he's had his 3rd accident of the day because at 10 he's not potty trained due to uncontrollable bowel movements? You want to talk about making someone sick??
You ignore your child's needs all you want but keep your opinion out of what I'm doing to help my son. He deserves the best treatment we can get in order for him to live a healthy full life.

I have the same concerns that Harold and other "naysayers" have about Dr. Martin's theory - and especially his treatment protocol. I don't think Harold will ever get his question answered after having asked several times - because I don't think what he's looking for exists. That's worrisome, but I am open-minded and can understand why Dr. Martin's theory would not be embraced - especially by mainstream science and medicine.

I am intrigued by this study, but I am not yet ready to make the plunge. My "snake oil radar" is going off. I hope I'm wrong. I am thrilled that Kent is putting it to the test and will be able to report back with an unbiased, analytical methodology. As an AoA editor, I think he's the perfect candidate!

Kent, Here is interesting website.


I am glad that you are "one of those" who have researched the subject. I have also done some research, particularly on Dr. Martin's theory and treatment. The only articles I can find are those by .... Dr. Martin. See:

Autism and Stealth-Adapted Viruses - Science or Non-Sense?


Can you provide some references to articles in credible journals that have reviewed and commented on Dr Martin's work ... or take it seriously?

How insulting. When will you people just accept that our children are autistic because that is who they are - genetically? And be proud of them for who they are?
Honor neurodiversity. You make me sick.

Very interesting, Kent! Don't worry about the naysayers. From your posts on AofA, I believe you to be a very concientious dad who would only do the best for his children. In addition, if we don't investigate the theories, we'll certainly never find the answers to why our kids are so sick. Kudos to you, and good luck. I look forward to hearing your results.

I loved reading The Vaccine and the Virus! Compelling to say the least. Shortly after I finished it, I saw a documentary called The Origin of AIDS on cable. Being so involved in vaccine issues/safety I was interested in watching the process the doctors used in making the polio vaccine...It was so barbaric, disgusting and literally made me sick to my stomach just to hear them tell it. The movie has stayed with me as much as the book, I encourage anyone to see it.

I am reading another good book right now called Poisoned Profits: The Toxic Assault on our Children by Philip and Alice Shabecoff. They address our autism issue (with the Blaxill family right there in Chapter 10!) in addition to chilhood cancer, asthma, birth defects, adhd, and the other usual suspects making our kids sick.

Kent, I read the book a couple of years ago and what repeatedly struck me was the wall of denial built around the vaccine program by our governemnt and modern medicine. The same thing is happening with the link between autism and vaccines and neurological damage in 1:6 kids and vaccines.

The pattern is clear that the federal agancies and Pharma will lie, lie, lie, in order to save the vaccine program at any cost.

Harry Hofherr

It's interesting that finally I see the monkey viruses mentioned related to autism. Our daughter is on the autism spectrum. For the past 3 years we are using energetic medicine, and she has been improving by clearing the monkey viruses, which have been hard to get rid of.

I am wary of this theory and treatment, and I am into biomedical. I tend to tread the safe, conservative edge of alternative treatments for autism.

If you go on facebook, you will easily find marketing-like sales pitches for this treatment. It feels like someone is making money on this. Something smells...

We chelated our son after months and months of personal research and preparation, so be aware that I'm not automatically against alternative theories, but you "hear things" (that's all I can say publicly) that this may not be all it's pushed as being, and possibly dangerous.

Sorry editors of AoA, but you should really speak to someone with science knowledge who you trust, because this topic merits scrutiny.

Due to the (deserved!) mistrust of the mainstream medical community, I wonder if then make mistakes in the other direction in being too trusting. We sometimes jump to back up iffy therapies too quickly?

I am not usually one to be out there searching for a cure. But what I can say is that this link is fascinating. I found a brief at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov directly found here:
linking a possibility to neurological disorders. This may indeed why there is such a government disdain to link vaccines to autism. Perhaps they are VERY afraid we'll find the real truth..

To quote the article:
"The findings support the concepts that stealth viruses can account for a spectrum of dysfunctional brain diseases and that some of these viruses may have arisen from live polio viral vaccines."

As Agent Mulder always said "The Truth is Out There"...

Here's another one for you, mercury out asthma down. very stark graph


Mr. Heckenlively,

I came across the following article on a well-respected Chronic Fatigue Syndrome web site:


It kind of makes me nervous about the study you're involved in.

good for you, Kent!!
Guess what Mr. AutismrealityNB? Most of us who have researched this kind of thing actually don't WANT to believe it- I don't LIKE thinking that a lot of the health professionals and scientists don't even know what the effects of these vaccinations are, never mind suspect that money and ignorance and fear prevent them from seeing the whole picture. I don't LIKE needing to call up the local communicable disease vaccine department to ask about what kind of cows were used in a particular vaccine (like when cow serum is used to culture the virus and Mad Cow disease hits the news) BUT I do because I am my child's protector and I owe it to them to use common sense and discretion in matters concerning them. I am only an educational assistant with 2 degrees (one in Child Studies with courses in statistics, research methods, physiology,nutrition,blah,blah,blah) and I and many others WILL put on a science hat for our children -it's like any other issue. You wouldn't just always assume your kid's teacher is doing the exact right thing for your kid, would you? It's called advocacy and our children deserve it!

I strongly suggest that people buy "The Virus and the Vaccine." Or if you can't find it online, check it out at your local library.

Here's a 226-word excerpt from Chapter 17, “A Study Marred By Strife,” pp. 226-227:

“[Michele] Carbone had tried for a number of years to find old vials of [polio] vaccine. He wanted to use PCR to see if they contained SV40 and, if so, what type. ... Stumped, he decided to call on Herbert Ratner, an elderly doctor he had met while attending the 1997 SV40 conference in Bethesda. Ratner had served as the public health officer during the 1950s in -- of all places -- Oak Park, Illinois, the very community in which Carbone resided. ... Ratner [had] refused to administer the vaccine. Parents were angry, and Ratner was practically run out of town. Then the Cutter incident broke, and Ratner suddenly appeared to be very perspicacious. ... After the Cutter incident had blown over, Ratner remained suspicious of the vaccine. Instead of injecting the young children of Oak Park with the vials he deemed unsafe, he stored them away in his refrigerator, where they remained, unopened, for more than forty years. The eighty-seven-year-old Ratner offered them to Carbone to test. … Carbone and Rizzo used PCR to test Ratner’s vials in the summer of 1999. Their first discovery was that the 1955 Parke-Davis vaccine did indeed contain SV40, but it was a variant of the simian virus that virologists refer to as slow-growing, because it replicates at a much slower rate than most SV40 strains used in laboratories.”

This disturbing SV40 fact straight from the CDC's website breaks my heart:

"In 1961, the virus was found to cause tumors in rodents (Eddy et al., 1961). That same year, the federal government required that new stocks of polio vaccine be free of SV40. However, existing polio vaccine stocks were not recalled and were used until 1963. "

And yet, they want us to trust them...

And they're busy doing all this fearmongering over not getting the MMR?

I also wonder if this is related to that Harvard Cancer Center study that found a health history of mumps parotits decreased women's risk of ovarian cancer. The study said that the results suggested that having mumps somehow seemed to provide protection against ovarian cancer. After reading this article now I wonder, were the women who had a history of mumps not vaccinated, and therefore not subjected to the SV40 virus?

I would take the mumps over mesothioloma any day.

Very interesting article.

In the name of anything remotely decent and ethical, that last comment from AutismRealityNB was gross, distasteful, embarrassing and has nothing to do with Autism. Shame on you! Shame on you! Shame on you!

TannersDad - what a great idea inviting candidates to your support meeting!

Kent - how great that you can switch from lawyer hat to science hat - gives you a very unique perspective on things. Thanks for another interesting article.

Yes but Why Couldn't Autism Be the Result of Alien Viruses introduced into the human population by alien visitors from space adopting human form and engaging in sexual intercourse with unwitting humans?

Unlike you I do not wear a "science teacher's hat". I am just a dad and a small town lawyer who asks why Dr. Martin's "theory" has not been given credibility by the scientific community?

If there is any legitimate basis to Dr Martin's theories and treatment why not leave the examination of these theories and treatments to those scientists who do more than wear a science teacher's hat?

This video featuring the voice of Dr. Maurice Hilleman scares the blank out of me. I found it last week.

"It was made at Merck"

I will not stop searching either. Thank you for the great article. I am such a nerd. I like the statistics and research.

We invited our local candidates to our Autism support group last night. They looked like a deer in headlights. Illinois is just overwhelmed by stupid politics...

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