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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
AIDS Virus Isolations in U.S., France Traced to Same Patient

June 3, 1993
Philadelphia Inquirer (06/03/93), P. A2

The original samples of HIV that were isolated by researchers in France and other researchers in the United States in the early 1980s appear to have come from the same patient, according to a study published in today's issue of the journal Nature. The study said that the virus from the patient apparently tainted a laboratory culture used in the United States to isolate HIV. Earlier work demonstrated that the patient's virus also contaminated French laboratory cultures from which the French isolate was taken. The French and American labs shared material from their cultures, unknowingly allowing contamination in both labs. The study's conclusion reaffirms what researchers had said about the striking similarity between the strain of HIV isolated by the U.S. National Cancer Institute and the Pasteur Institute in Paris. Thomas White and colleagues at Roche Molecular Systems Inc., who conducted the study, examined the genetic material from HIV samples. They concluded that the pool of HIV from which the cancer institute isolated its virus was contaminated between October 1983 and early 1984. The tainted virus was initially recovered from a patient identified as LAI.