(Based on radio interview with Dr. Roger Mazlen, 8/3/97)
Question: Could you first of all explain what you mean by stealth viruses.
Answer: The term "stealth" refers to the ability of these viruses to go unseen by the cellular immune system. Stealth-adapted viruses do not evoke an anti-viral inflammatory reaction. They lack antigens that can be easily targeted by our immune system.
Question: Why do you feel that stealth viruses are important
Answer: There has been a major increase in the prevalence of illnesses relating to impaired functioning of the brain. These illnesses include autism, attention deficit and defiant behaviors in children, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, drug addiction and depression in young adults, and dementia in the elderly. A unifying hypothesis is that all of these conditions reflect a broad spectrum of diseases caused by a chronic persistent infection of the brain by stealth viruses.
Question: Do we know where stealth viruses have come from and how people become infected.
Answer: Some stealth viruses originally came from the tissues used to produce viral vaccines. In particular, African green monkeys were used to make polio vaccines. The first stealth virus identified came from the cytomegalovirus of African green monkeys. Dog tissues and duck tissues were used to make rubella vaccines and viruses from these species are another potential source of stealth viruses.
Now that humans are infected, stealth viruses can be passed directly between family members and sometimes even to family pets. Stealth viruses can also be passed through blood transfusions.
Question: You mentioned that stealth viruses could explain the increased incidence of autism and behavioral problems in children. Can you please elaborate.
Answer: Yes, it is a consistent finding that the majority of autistic children are infected with a stealth virus. The same applies to children with severe learning disabilities including attention deficit. When these children are examined, one can usually find evidence of brain damage. Brain damage is also detectable in many patients with chronic fatigue, chemical sensitivity and with the so called Gulf war syndrome. I firmly believe that a stealth viral infection is the major contributing cause in the majority of these patients.
Question: You have recently published with Dr. Donovan Anderson on an outbreak of stealth virus infection in the Mohave Valley region of western Arizona and Southeastern California. Could you please give our listeners an update on the outbreak of chronic fatigue in the Mohave Valley.
Answer: With Dr. Anderson's help, the Center for Complex Infectious Disease, has continued to identify stealth viral infected patients from the Mohave Valley. Similar, positive blood samples, have recently also been obtained from patients in the surrounding major cities. These include Phoenix, Arizona; Las Vegas, Nevada; and Palm Springs, California. There is no doubt that this particular infection will soon spread to Los Angeles County.
Question: Are there areas elsewhere in the United States where infection has occurred with other stealth viruses.
Answer: Yes, as I said earlier, infection by stealth-adapted viruses is already quite widespread within the United States. I believe this type of infection explains the huge increase in brain- related illnesses. The sad thing is that many of these illnesses are simply dismissed as a result of stress. It is particularly devastating when one sees illnesses passing within a family with no one really knowing what is causing the problem.
The big advantage of the Mohave outbreak is that so many people were infected about the same time. This has allowed a better appreciation of the different manifestations of stealth viral infection. More importantly, it has provided a large group of patients to help evaluate newer forms of therapy.
Question: What types of diseases are present in the patients being referred to the Center for Complex Infectious Disease by Dr. Donovan Anderson.
Answer: Basically, all of his patients are showing signs of a brain dysfunction. There are now over 100 patients with chronic fatigue. Several patients have had a more severe encephalopathy. Some patients have had psychiatric illness, including acute psychosis and manic depression. So far, in children, we have mainly seen attention deficit and learning disorders.
Question: How do you explain such a wide range of syndromes.
Answer: It probably indicates virus infection in different parts of the brain. Unlike other organs, the brain cannot overcome localized damage to one part by heightened activity in other parts of the same organ. This makes the brain particularly susceptible to stealth viral infection. Although the brain is most sensitive to the virus, other organs systems are involved. These can include the thyroid, adrenal, liver, intestine, skin and lymph nodes. A good overall name for illnesses resulting from stealth viruses is multi-system stealth virus infection. There have also been two tumors among those infected from the Mohave Valley. One was a brain tumor; the other was a tumor of the salivary gland. Whether the stealth virus caused the tumors is unknown.
Question: Many people will wonder why the CDC has not got involved in stealth viral illnesses.
Answer: Unfortunately, the Public Health authorities, including the CDC and FDA, are hampered by political considerations. There is a reluctance to open the debate on whether contaminating animal viruses from vaccines explain the increased incidence of diseases such as chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, Gulf War Syndrome, depression, attention deficit and autism.
Moreover, Government officials are unable to disclose much of the information they already have on prior vaccine contamination. This is because the information comes from industry or was obtained on industry supplied products. All of this information is treated as proprietary. By not disclosing this information, most of the scientific advisors to the Government are not really in the position to make informed decisions regarding vaccine safety.
Question: What about other scientists.
Answer: Again, many scientists are totally unaware that fresh monkey tissues were, and indeed still are, being used to make polio vaccines. They would be surprised to know that FDA refuses to use molecular probe assays to exclude contamination of live polio vaccines with monkey viruses. But even if FDA were to be more open to the scientific community, new concepts often take a long time to be understood and appreciated. It took scientists a long time to identify the AIDS virus or to be convinced that peptic ulcers were due to a bacterial infection.
Question: You mentioned earlier the possibility of treating patients. Do you have some treatment in mind.
Answer: From what we can tell, current treatments, including the use of the anti-viral agent ganciclovir, is only of partial benefit. There is, however, a potential viral inhibitor in some viral cultures. I have called this inhibitor Epione.
Question: Why do you use the name Epione.
Answer: Epione is a Greek name. It refers to the wife of the Greek god of medicine called Ascepius. Their daughters were Hygenica and Panacea. Epione had the reputation for being able to soothe pain.
Question: Is Epione ready for clinical trials.
Answer: No, not at all. In fact, because of a lack of money, Epione is only at the beginning phase of its characterization. Funding is necessary to determine what it is, and how it works.
Question: Is there anyway the public could help in Epione research.
Answer: They could make a tax-deductible contribution to the Stealth Virus Trust Account. This account is managed by the Public Health Foundation of Los Angeles. Donations and requests for further information should be sent to the Center for Complex Infectious Diseases at 3328 Stevens Avenue, Rosemead CA 91770. Information can also be found on the Web site http://www.ccid.org
Question: What else can be done to help people with a stealth viral illness.
Answer: It would help if people had a better understanding of the many ways in which stealth viral infections can manifest itself in different individuals. Instead of blaming everything on stress, they should consider the likelihood that individuals showing signs of not being able to cope with life, have virus induced brain damage. This attitude can be especially helpful to children and to the elderly. It is time that we all recognize the enormous social toil that stealth viruses are having on our society. Given the public's support, I am confident the Center for Complex Infectious Diseases will be able to get the ball rolling, especially along the lines of a potential therapy.
Conclusion: I hope that the public will heed this call to support stealth virus research. Again contributions payable to the Stealth Virus Trust account should be sent directly to CCID at 3328 Stevens Ave, Rosemead California 91770.