A former Iowa State University scientist, Dong-Pyou Han, who made changes to blood samples to make it appear he had achieved a breakthrough toward a potential vaccine against HIV was sentenced last week Wednesday to more than 4 ½ years in prison for making false statements in his research reports, according to CNN.
The 58 year old scientist must also pay $7.2 million to a federal government agency that funded the research. He entered a plea agreement in February admitting guilt to two counts of making false statements.
According to CNN:
Government prosecutors said Han’s misconduct dates to 2008 when he worked at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland under professor Michael Cho, who was leading a team testing an experimental HIV vaccine on rabbits.
Cho’s team began receiving NIH funding, and he soon reported the vaccine was causing rabbits to develop antibodies to HIV, which was considered a major breakthrough. Han said he initially accidentally mixed human blood with rabbit blood making the potential vaccine appear to increase an immune defense against HIV, the virus that can cause AIDS.
Han continued to spike the results to avoid disappointing Cho, his mentor, after the scientific community became excited that the team could be on the verge of a vaccine.