Harald zur Hausen of Germany and Francoise Barre-Sinoussi and Luc Montagnier of France won the Nobel Prize for medicine on Monday.
The trio were awarded for "discoveries of two viruses causing severe human diseases," the Nobel jury -- the Nobel Assembly at Sweden's Karolinska Institute -- said in a statement.
Zur Hausen was honored for discovering a virus that causes cervical cancer, and Montagnier and Barre-Sinoussi were awarded the prize for finding HIV, the AIDS virus, the statement said.
The winners of the physics prize will be announced on Tuesday, to be followed by those for chemistry on Wednesday, literature on Thursday, peace on Friday and economics next Monday.
The annual Nobel Prizes are usually announced in October and are handed out on Dec. 10, the anniversary of the 1896 death of Alfred Nobel, a Swedish industrialist and the inventor of dynamite.
Nobel died childless and dedicated his vast fortune to create "prizes to those, who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind."
The prizes have been awarded since 1901. Each prize consists of a medal, a personal diploma and a cash award of 10 million Swedish kronor(1.42 million U.S. dollars).
(Xinhua News Agency October 6, 2008)