Three European scientists who discovered the viruses behind AIDS and cervical cancer shared this year's Nobel prize for medicine. Lisa Bryant has more on the prestigious award for VOA from Paris.
The Nobel medicine award was handed to two French scientists: Francoise Barre-Sinoussi and Luc Montagnier - for their discovery of HIV, the virus leading to AIDS, which has killed at least 25 million people worldwide. Another 33 million others are living with the deadly virus.
German doctor and researcher Harald zur Hausen shared the $1.4 prize for his work on cervical cancer, which poses a major threat to women.
Contacted by France-Info radio in Cambodia, Barre-Sinoussi said she was delighted by the news.
Barre-Sinoussi said being awarded the Nobel was an enormous surprise. She acknowledged her discovery was important, given the extent of the epidemic.
Alice Dautry, the head of the Pasteur Institute in Paris where Barre-Sinoussi works, told French radio she was moved and overjoyed by the award after watching the institute's AIDS researchers battle for years for a breakthrough on the virus research.
The medicine prize is the first of six Nobel awards that will be announced during the next week.