Lawyers for Kenyan primate virologist Moses Otsyula have filed a civil suit with a Kenyan court against Oxford University and eight researchers he alleges "stole" blood samples and data he had taken from orphans for research into viral cofactors and vaccines against HIV/AIDS.

According to legal papers seen by The Scientist, a lengthy civil suit detailing the complaints, with Otsyula as plaintiff and Oxford and the scientists as defendants, has been filed with the High Court of Kenya at Nairobi. The court confirmed the existence of the suit in a telephone call.

The Oxford scientists to be cited in the action, including Sarah Rowland-Jones and Rana Chakraborty, are prominent for their work on HIV-infected prostitutes and children in Kenya whose infections do not seem to progress to AIDS, thus offering a rare window on natural immunity.

News of the rift made headlines during recent weeks in the East African...

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