*** ----> French discoverer of HIV virus Luc Montagnier dies at 89 | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

French discoverer of HIV virus Luc Montagnier dies at 89

Agencies | Paris

The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com

French researcher Luc Montagnier, who won a Nobel Prize in 2008 for discovering the HIV virus and more recently spread false claims about the coronavirus, has died at age 89, local government officials in France said.

Montagnier died Tuesday at the American Hospital of Paris in Neuilly-sur-Seine, a western suburb of the capital, the area’s city hall said. No other details have been released, reports AP.

Montagnier, a virologist, led the team that in 1983 identified the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) which causes AIDS, leading him to share the 2008 Nobel Prize in medicine with colleague Francoise Barré-Sinoussi.

French President Emmanuel Macron paid tribute in a written statement Thursday to Montagnier’s “major contribution” to the fight against AIDS and expressed condolences to his family.

Montagnier was born in 1932 in the village of Chabris in central France. According to his autobiography on the Nobel Prize website, Montagnier studied medicine in Poitiers and Paris. 

He said recent scientific discoveries in 1957 inspired him to become a virologist in the rapidly advancing field of molecular biology.

 He joined the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) in 1960 and became head of the Pasteur Institute’s virology department in 1972.

“My involvement in AIDS began in 1982, when the information circulated that a transmissible agent — possibly a virus — could be at the origin of this new mysterious disease,” Montagnier said in his autobiography.

In 1983, a working group led by him and Barré-Sinoussi at the Pasteur Institute isolated the virus that would later become known as HIV and was able to explain how it caused AIDS.

American scientist Robert Gallo claimed to have found the same virus at almost exactly the same time, sparking a disagreement over who should get the credit. 

The United States and France settled a dispute over the patent for an AIDS test in 1987. Montagnier was later credited as the discoverer of the virus, Gallo as the creator of the first test.