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Who Discovered HPV?

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HPV or Human Papillomavirus was first discovered during the 1950s. A group of scientists from different countries contributed to the identification of the virus. However, other characteristics, common associations and common strains of this virus were discovered much later, during the 1970s and 1980s.

Stefania Ginsburg-Jabłońska

Stefania Ginsburg-Jabłońska, a Polish physician and dermatologist was the first person to discover the connection between HPV and skin cancer in 1972. She was born in 1920 in Poland. She studied medicine at various Polish university and received a MD and a PhD degree on related subjects. She served as a director for the Medical University of Warsaw for a number of years.

Harald zur Hausen2008 Nobel Prize winner for Medicine, Harald zur Hausen.

HPV Vaccine

She conducted research on various topics of dermatology and skin cancer being one of them. This is how she came to discover the link between skin cancer and HPV. She published over 600 medical papers based on her research. She also contributed in the development of HPV vaccine. Then in 1978, a research team from the Pasteur Institute of France discovered the specific strain of HPV virus responsible for skin cancer, called HPV-5. The team consisted of Gerard Orth and Jabłońska.

Harald zur Hausen

In 1976, Harald zur Hausen, a German scientist and virologist published his famous hypothesis on HPV. In his hypothesis, he explored the association of HPV with cervical cancer. He later went on to prove the authenticity of his hypothesis. During 1983 and 1984, he and his team discovered two strains of HPV, HPV16 and HPV18. They also showed that these strains of HPV were the cause of cervical cancer. For his discovery, he won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2008.