Friday, Oct. 07, 2011

Harald zur Hausen

Clinching the 2008 Nobel Prize for Medicine for discovering that HPV causes cervical cancer was supposed to be Harald zur Hausen's moment in the limelight. Instead it cast a dark cloud over the entire Nobel organization and led to an investigation by the Swedish police. An anticorruption unit looked into charges of improper influence against AstraZeneca — a pharmaceutical company that had a large stake in two HPV vaccines — after it emerged that the company had strong links with two senior figures on the medicine prize's selection committee. Although charges were never brought, the process got murkier by the fact AstraZeneca had recently begun sponsoring the Nobel website.