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Researcher Caught Spiking HIV Test Results Ends Up In Prison

A former Iowa State University researcher, Dong Pyou Han is in prison for falsifying a vaccine for HIV. Han stated the multimillion dollar research fraud started as an accident in 2008. He had been on a team lead by Michael Cho at the Western Reserve University in Cleveland where they were working on an HIV vaccine.

Han says they had test results showing rabbits that had been injected with GP41 a vaccine test for HIV showed signs of antibodies in their blood. The vaccine suggested it was prompting an immune response against the disease. With those promising results Cho requested grants from NIH, who were shocked by the results.

According to Han, human antibodies had contaminated the rabbit blood, but he did not realize the mistake until it was too late. He never told Cho about the mistake, instead he spiked future samples with the same antibodies. His actions were resulting in false impressions that the rabbits were mounting an immune response to the HIV virus.

Iowa State University recruited Cho in 2009 and he brought Han with him. ColunaEsplanada reported that they continued their research as other researchers joined in and the money flowed towards their work. It wasn’t until 2013 before Cho began to suspect something wrong with Han’s blood samples. Han resigned and took responsibility for the findings when confronted by Cho.

Han has been sentenced to more than four and half years in prison by a federal judge. He has also been ordered to repay the grant money totaling 7.2 million dollars. Researchers seldom ever lose their positions for misconduct; it is very rare they are ever charged as criminals

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