Denial of Compensation – Mitochondrial Autism/Autoimmune Encephalitis


RV v. HHS, (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. Feb. 19, 2016) (Corcoran, SM)

In this case, similar to previous cases, petitioner argued that an underlying, preexisting mitochondrial disease was exacerbated by receipt of a vaccine, resulting in autism. An alternative causation theory was offered – molecular mimicry causing an autoimmune encephalopathy.

The Court found that a preponderance of evidence did not support a conclusion that the child had an underlying mitochondrial disorder or disease. Thus, the Loving analysis did not need to be applied to that theory. However, the court noted that petitioner’s had not shown a critical piece of the Loving analysis – how the child’s preexisting condition would have been better but for the vaccination.

The court also found that there was no evidence to support that the child actually suffered from an encephalopathy. With respect to both causation theories, the court found no evidence of a severe or acute regression post-vaccine, but rather, found that the regression preceded the vaccines.

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