October 7, 2008

Three Scientists Share Nobel Medicine Prize

World in brief

STOCKHOLM Three scientists whose discoveries have saved millions of lives from the world's commonest sexually transmitted diseases were named yesterday as winners of the 2008 Nobel Prize for medicine. French scientists Luc Montagnier and Francoise Barre- Sinoussi were cited for identifying the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in 1983, which has caused more than 25 million deaths worldwide. Their discovery led to the development of a blood test and antiretroviral drugs that have saved hundreds of thousands from infection and extended the lives of millions of others. German researcher Harald zur Hausen was also honoured for his discovery that human papilloma virus caused cervical cancer, the second commonest cancer in women. The breakthrough, also made in the early 1980s, led to the development of a vaccine which is being rolled out to teenage girls in the UK this year, as part of the national vaccination programme. A vaccine against HIV is still not in sight, despite 25 years of research. Professor Zur Hausen, 72, will collect half the 10,000 Swedish Kroner award (700,000), with the remaining half being shared between Dr Montagnier and Dr Barre-Sinoussi.

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