In recent years, the Nobel laureate has sparked controversy for making unscientific statements concerning autism, Covid-19, and vaccinations
Dr. Luc Montagnier, a French virologist who headed the team that discovered the AIDS-causing Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), died on February 8th at 89.
The discovery won him the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2008, which he shared with fellow researcher Francoise Barré-Sinoussi. The pair split the Nobel Prize with Harald Zur Hausen, a German scientist who discovered the human papillomaviruses that cause cervical cancer.
Dr. Montagnier began studying the virus in the early 1980s at France’s Pasteur Institute, a non-profit research foundation. In 1983, at the Pasteur Institute, the duo examined tissue samples from a patient with an unexplained new illness. They successfully isolated the virus that would later become known as HIV and explained how it caused AIDS.
Robert Gallo, an American scientist, claimed to have discovered the same virus simultaneously, igniting a long-running controversy between the two for patent rights and credit. In 1987, the United States and France reached an agreement on a patent for an AIDS test.
In 2002, the two researchers acknowledged that Montagnier’s team identified HIV, and Gallo was the first to demonstrate its role in causing AIDS.
Montagnier was praised for his work but promoted ideas lacking scientific support in recent decades, such as unscientific comments concerning autism and the origins of COVID-19 and vaccination.
Dr. Montagnier, born in 1932, was an emeritus professor at the Pasteur Institute and garnered several significant awards over his career.