AMES, Iowa (CBS St. Louis) – An assistant professor involved in AIDS vaccine research at Iowa State University has resigned after an investigation showed that he made the medication appear more effective than it actually was.
The Des Moines Register is reporting that Dr. Dong-Pyou Han spiked rabbit blood in order to alter testing results, a crime he is said to have confessed to back in October. Han reportedly added human blood containing HIV antibodies to the rabbit blood samples collected during research.
The inaccurate results stemming from his actions made it appear as though the developed vaccine was creating resistance to the virus – a development that initially garnered millions in federal grant dollars for the team involved in the study.
An investigation was launched after the results appeared to be too good to be true.
“At Iowa State’s request, the research samples in question were examined by researchers at another university; they confirmed samples had been spiked,” University spokesman John McCarroll was quoted as saying in an e-mail to the Register.
Still, the damage had been done, as news of the results spread far and wide. Federal documents released Monday indicate that the “falsified neutralization assay results were widely reported in laboratory meetings, seven … national and international symposia between 2010 and 2012, and in grant applications and progress reports.”
While Han’s career will be negatively affected for years to come, the research is what suffers the most, according to experts – Dr. James Bradac, a National Institutes of Health official who assists in managing AIDS vaccine grants, said that “[a] large amount of what they were focusing on was flushed down because of this one guy.”