http://www.wisconsinlab.com/virus_discovery.html Our interest in virus discovery began in 1988. In 2010, we are continuing this quest. Read about our ideas for the Global Virus Discovery Program in Kenya. Late in 1988, a positive but life-changing event occurred in the laboratory of Dr. Knox and Dr. Carrigan in the Department of Pathology at the Medical College of Wisconsin. They were asked by a fellow in the HIV/AIDS Program to try and isolate HIV from a patient's peripheral blood. The patient was an enigma. He was clinically suffering from AIDS (severe T lymphopenia, mental status changes, and life-threatening opportunistic infections), but he was seronegative for HIV and was negative for the HIVp24 antigen in his serum. A standard HIV isolation culture was established, but no HIV could be detected throughout the course of the culture. However, an unusual cytopathic agent was isolated (number 1 below). Standard virologic methods were used to confirm that the agent was a virus, and by electron microscopy this agent was identified as a member of the herpesvirus family. Further studies, in collaboration with Robert Gallo's laboratory at the National Cancer Institute, confirmed that the virus was a newly described form of herpesvirus termed human herpesvirus six (HHV-6). The surprise isolation of this almost unknown virus provided the inspiration for Drs. Knox and Carrigan's Program for Virus Discovery.