Monday 6 October 2008

Luc Montagnier takes the Nobel Prize for isolating HIV

It is Nobel week

This week is Nobel Prize week and the first one has already been named for Physiology or Medicine 2008 [1].

In what can only be the recognition of peers and retribution of the gods, one name stuck out in the list of winners, the prize is shared by three persons, but for me, the name I can remember is Luc Montagnier.

What causes AIDS?

Professor Luc Montagnier [2] was a pioneer at the world renowned Pasteur Institute [3] in Paris whose work has been acknowledged and feted in the search for the causative agent of the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).

Just like the arms race between the West and the Soviet Union, there was a virus race between America and France to isolate the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).

As history would have it, there was an acrimonious dispute about who first isolated HIV and the reckoning that now accepts that it was first isolated by the French but the glory was snatched away with a rushed announcement by the Americans under the genius abilities of Dr. Robert C. Gallo [4].

The work of others

Now, this is not to discount [5] the ground-breaking work of Dr. Gallo because Prof. Montagnier discovered the virus and Dr. Gallo showed that the virus caused the disease, he also went on to create a blood test which has a shared patent between the French and the Americans.

Laughing last

But today, for all the work and in recognition of a man who at times looked wronged, was once frustrated and trumped by the ascendancy of publicity over the once respectable endeavour of scientific research for the good of humanity; he takes the prize, just a quarter of it, but the Nobel Prize is the Nobel Prize whatever the share. Some might record this event as controversial and did I forget to mention that Professor Luc Montagnier sharesone half og the prize with Françoise Barré-Sinoussi [6], a lady, with whom he shares the work for which he is honoured.

Congratulations! Professor Montagnier and thank you very much.


[1] The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2008

[2] Luc Montagnier - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

[3] Pasteur Institute - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

[4] Robert Gallo - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

[5] The sound and fury of HIV - US News and World Report

Luc Montagnier – From Internet FAQ Archives

Robert C. Gallo – From Internet FAQ Archives

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