HIV cofounder says Libyan infections not deliberately caused
BY Advocate.com Editors
September 06 2003 12:00 AM ET
Luc Montagnier, the French codiscoverer of HIV, testified Wednesday in the Libyan trial of six Bulgarian health workers accused of deliberately infecting 393 children with HIV, saying that the infections were due to negligence and unsafe practices at the hospital, Agence France-Presse reports. The health care workers, one doctor and five nurses, are accused of deliberately infecting the children at the al-Fateh hospital in Benghazi. They've been detained in the country since first being charged in early 1999. Montagnier testified that most of the infections probably occurred prior to the workers' arrival at the hospital in 1997 and likely continued after their arrests because of unsafe practices at the hospital, including transfusions with contaminated blood, the reuse of needles, unsterilized equipment, and poor record keeping. Montagnier was asked to testify at the trial by Bulgarian government officials. Italian AIDS researcher Vittorio Colizzi also testified. Defense arguments are expected to continue in the trial on Monday and Tuesday. If found guilty, all six health care workers face the death penalty.