A Tissue Sample from 1966 Held Traces of Early HIV

August 16, 2019

(The Atlantic) – In 1966, a 38-year-old man visited a hospital in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo. His name, his symptoms, and everything about him beyond his age and gender, have been lost to history. But a piece of one of his lymph nodes was collected and preserved. By analyzing it, a team of researchers led by Michael Worobey from the University of Arizona have shown that the man was infected by HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. He wouldn’t have known it, though, and nor would his doctors. HIV was only formally discovered 17 years later.