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German, 2 French Share Nobel Medicine Prize

Germany's Harald zur Hausen and French researchers Francoise Barre-Sinoussi and Luc Montagnier shared the 2008 Nobel Prize in medicine Monday for discovering the AIDS virus and viruses causing cervical cancer.

Barre-Sinoussi and Montagnier were cited for their discovery of human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV; zur Hausen was cited for his discovery of human papilloma viruses that cause cervical cancer in women.

The German scientist received half of the $1.4 million prize, while the two French researchers shared the other half.

Alfred Nobel, the Swede who invented dynamite, established the prizes in his will in the categories of medicine, physics, chemistry, literature and peace. The economics prize is technically not a Nobel but a 1968 creation of Sweden's central bank.

The awards include a $1.4 million purse, a diploma and an invitation to the prize ceremonies in Stockholm and Oslo on Dec. 10, the anniversary of Nobel's death in 1896.

Nobel left few instructions on how to select winners, but medicine winners are typically awarded for a specific breakthrough rather than a body of research.

Last year's medicine award went to U.S. researchers Mario Capecchi and Oliver Smithies and Briton Martin Evans for work that led to a powerful and widely used technique to manipulate genes in mice, which has helped scientists study heart disease, diabetes, cancer, cystic fibrosis and other diseases.