An Iowa State University professor was forced to resign from his post this week after he fudged a clinical trial to make rabbit blood appear to neutralize HIV, with millions in federal research dollars at stake.
The subterfuge by assistant professor of biomedical sciences Dr. Dong-Pyou Han came to light after a joint investigation by the university and the Department of Health and Human Services. That investigation came about because Han's research—bankrolled with part of $19 million in grants from the National Institutes of Health—showed some promise in ending the global AIDS epidemic, according to the Ames Tribune:
Dr. James Bradac, who oversees AIDS research for the National Institutes of Health, said Han's initial findings, developed with support from the first two grants, were a "unique discovery."
"The serum from the rabbits made neutralizing antibodies that could neutralize HIV," Bradac said.
He said the NIH sent the serum to another lab which confirmed the findings...
"It was during their quality control that they did some tests and determined the rabbit serum contained human antibodies," Bradac said.
That healthy human blood had falsely made the rabbit blood appear to be effective in fighting AIDS. "This doesn't happen very often," Bradac told the Trib. "I've been with the NIH for 24 years and it's the first case I've seen in the AIDS research field."
So what's the penalty for taking taxpayer money and pretending to cure AIDS? Han "was removed from his employment at Iowa State and the affidavit he signed said he would not be permitted to ask for research support for several years," Bradac said. He also "agreed to exclude himself from any federal contracts for the next three years or to serve in any advisory capacity with the U.S. Public Health Service." We expect big things out of him in 2017, though.