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  • Row over use of data from Kenyan 'AIDS orphans'


A bitter row has broken out between a Kenyan scientist and researchers at the University of Oxford over the use of data taken from patients exposed to HIV/AIDS that could provide the key to a potential vaccine.

Moses Otsyula, now head of virology at Kenya's Institute of Primate Research, says that he is taking legal action against Oxford University and Sarah Rowland-Jones, whose research team is the focus of the allegations.

According to a report in the UK newspaper, The Observer, Otsyula claims that the British researchers "stole" samples of blood and computer data from Kenya's Nyumbani orphanage, where some HIV-positive children have defied expectations by surviving for many years without medication.

But Rowland-Jones says that her team had the necessary permission for their research, and that any confusion about the status of ethical approval was accidental.

And Father Angelo D'Agostino, who opened the Nyumbani home in Nairobi in 1992, says that allegations that improper studies were done on children there is nothing more than a "smear campaign". He adds that the home has records showing it has all the proper documents authorising the research.

Link to full news story in The Observer

Link to full news story in Nature

Link to full news story on the Voice of America website

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