December 26, 2013

"An Iowa State University professor resigned after admitting he falsely claimed rabbit blood could be turned into a vaccine for the AIDS virus."

"Dr. Dong-Pyou Han spiked a clinical test sample with healthy human blood to make it appear that the rabbit serum produced disease-fighting antibodies, officials said."

He got $19 million in grants from the National Institutes of Health.

28 comments:

Broomhandle said...

Clearly not the impregnable Dong.

Gahrie said...

Han agreed last month not to seek government contracts for three years,

This guy should be prosecuted and thrown in jail for defrauding the American taxpayer......and all he gets is a timeout?

T Rellis said...

Unpossible, scientists are greater angels and would NEVER lie about any science for money. At least that's what I've heard from Al Gore.

David said...

Is this guy not being prosecuted? Why did the school not announce the problem before it was published in the federal record? Who was his supervisor? What kind of internal controls did Iowa State have? Who else benefited from this money? Might others be complicit in the fraud? Does NIH perform any review of findings, or do they just leave it to peer review? Just how were they able to spend $19 million for this study?

Peer review worked this time, though it can't recover the lost fortune that was spent on this fraud.

Worst of all, the rabbit died.

iowan2 said...

Today,Colleges exist to do research.
Those believing they exist to educate, have a rude awakening coming. Professors (read, researchers) are recruited by universities, for their ability to write grant applications that mean $100's of millions of revenue to the university. Not their ability to instill knowledge in your
precious little Susie.

Point two is something I have been trying to educate people on for 2 decades.

This global warming scam in the perfect vehicle for scam artists. Endless research grants with no accountability.

Ask any of the researchers how their theory is to be proven wrong. They don't have an answer.

John said...

Not to worry, though.

97% of reputable climate scientists say that global warming was real.

And may be real again someday in the future.

John Henry

BigFire said...

The science is settled. Do not question the scientists.

David said...

Des Moines Register has more info:

http://blogs.desmoinesregister.com/dmr/index.php/2013/12/23/isu-researcher-quits-amid-allegations-of-aids-research-fraud-involving-millions-of-federal-dollars/article

John said...

TRellis:

Speaking of AlGore:

In his Nobel acceptance, he predicted that the Arctic ice cap would be gone by 2013.

We still have 3 days left but I would not bet on it happening.

But it is SCIENCE!(tm)

John Henry

James Pawlak said...

Either not enough Kim-Chee infused in the blood samples OR too much Soju infused in the researcher.

Will he be criminally charges or dismissed from his university position or both? If not a US citizen will he be deported?

Bob Boyd said...

@Gahrie

If its any consolation, he is also excluded from serving in any advisory capacity to the U.S. Public Health Service.

Wayworn Wanderer said...

Only $19 million to cure AIDS? The problem is that the government is too cheap and run by a bunch of homophobes. A cure for AIDS is worth at least $19 BILLION. Long Dong's only problem was that he sold out too cheaply.

Bob Boyd said...

Its only $19 million dollars.
Its not like he has expressed offensive opinions or something serious like that.

Carol said...

Wait, we were promised a vaccine by 1984 weren't we?

YoungHegelian said...

@Carol,

Wait, we were promised a vaccine by 1984 weren't we?

Thanks, Carol, you just had to get me started!

A couple of years ago Dr. Anthony Fauci of NIH was on the Diane Rehm show, and she asked him about where was the vaccine that was supposed to be developed. And he said "Well, you know, we're going in a completely different direction now than we were then".

Great, Fauci! Now that you've blown hundreds of millions of dollars, and you've stuffed NIH & other research centers with your butt-kissers that'll be on salary for years & years & years, you tell us about your "different direction"!

I know scientists want a steady paycheck just like everyone else. It just seems like the best way to kill truly original research is to build a sinecured bureaucracy that sees it's job as showing up for 40 hours a week.

jacksonjay said...


Phil Robertson can teach the vaccine for AIDS! No rabbit blood needed!

n.n said...

Intelligence never was a good predictor of moral behavior.

Crimso said...

From David's link:

"But researchers at other institutions became suspicious after they were unsuccessful in duplicating the ISU results."

A couple of things to note. He was caught because his results weren't reproducible. Unfortunately, most published peer-reviewed research is never checked by other labs for reproducibility (lack of it is usually discovered by another lab needing to use the technique in question for their own work). Some of that $19 million might have been well-spent funding spot checks of reproducibility (how to decide what studies to check would itself have to be studied; not holding my breath). And that amount of money is unusually high. Digging deeper (David's link), you find that work by other groups at more than one institution have their funding added in when calculating that number. Apparently those groups either had a direct relationship with Han, or their reseearch proposals were directly based on his fraudulent work.

None of this is to say that it wasn't so bad (not all of that $19M was his), but it does demonstrate how much money was wasted because of the fraud of one person (very roughly 40 years of NIH grant support of the normal variety; some R01 grants get $500,000/yr).

Archie said...

If the grant had the normal administrative cost load somewhere north of %50 of the ill gotten gains went straight to the university. At least these funds should definitely be recovered. The fraudster should be prosecuted. High social status should be no protection.

Freeman Hunt said...

Pretty sure that if any of us stole $19 million, we'd be in jail.

madAsHell said...

Ho Lee Fuk
Tu Mani Monee
Go Fu Mor

EDH said...

Let me guess, the rabbit's name was Harvey, and he was six-feet, three-and-a-half inches tall.

"Now, let's stick to the facts."

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Pretty sure that if any of us stole $19 million, we'd be in jail.

They'll have to catch me first!

Freeman Hunt said...

Were people not skeptical about this rabbit blood claim? It sounds preposterous. But then, I don't know anything about making vaccines.

gadfly said...

Rumor has it that Dr. Dong has already applied for a $50 million grant in order to test the South African theory that raping little girls is the only reliable cure for HIV positive males.

MadisonMan said...

Wait, we were promised a vaccine by 1984 weren't we?

How much money has been spent on the fight against cancer?

And yet people die daily from the scourge.

Crimso said...

Well, AIDS is a single disease (in the sense there is a single cause in HIV) whereas cancers are a diverse group of hundreds of diseases. We need to stamp out the term "cure for cancer." It makes as much sense as a "cure for mental illness."

Since the war on cancer was declared, many cancers have seen almost no advances in treatment. But many have dramatically different outcomes now as opposed to 40 yrs ago. Here's something to try: guess at what the survival rate of childhood leukemias (as a group) is, then look it up. If your estimate was way off, you might need to rethink the extent to which our understanding and treatment of cancers have advanced over 40 yrs.

Crimso said...

And it is also important to note that research into cancers has greatly advanced our understanding of how living cells work. It is difficult to estimate how many advances in other areas began as work being done on cancers. Whether we should consider the return on the investment worth it is a very good question, but there are no easy answers there.


The problem in making advances against cancers is the same reason why some dying pharmaceutical companies picked Alzheimer's as the hill to die on: in both cases, you're dealing with very, very, very complicated disease processes which remain poorly understood. To paraphrase Derek Lowe, the reason we don't yet have a cure is because it's REALLY hard to find them.