(CNN)The man blamed for bringing HIV to the United States just had his name cleared.
New research has proved that Gaëtan Dugas, a French-Canadian flight attendant who was dubbed “patient zero,” did not spread HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, to the United States.
A cutting-edge analysis of blood samples from the 1970s offers new insight into how the virus spread to North America via the Caribbean from Africa. More than 1.2 million people in the United States currently live with HIV.
The research, conducted by an international team of scientists, was published this week in the journal Nature.
It’s one of the biggest medical mysteries of our time: How did HIV come to the U.S.?
By genetically sequencing samples from people infected early on, scientists say they have figured out when and where the virus that took hold here first arrived. In the process, they have exonerated the man accused of triggering the epidemic in North America.
A team of researchers at the University of Arizona sequenced HIV virus taken from Canadian flight attendant Gaetan Dugas, the man called “Patient Zero” in the best-selling book And the Band Played On, which chronicled the early days of the AIDS epidemic in America.
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