Bumbling Toward the Nobel

Finally, a plausible answer to who discovered the AIDS virus: the French, though a fluke led to a U.S. breakthrough

Who deserves the credit -- and a likely Nobel Prize -- for being the first to track down the AIDS virus? For more than seven years, that question has generated a transatlantic duel, during which accusations of mistakes became tainted with bitter murmurs about dishonesty, between rival scientists in France and the U.S. Now the mystery may have been solved. New evidence to be published later this month in the journal Science offers a simple explanation of how two laboratories came to claim credit for the same discovery.

The slugfest became public after Dr. Robert Gallo and his colleagues from the...

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