Tue. May 17th, 2022
French HIV discoverer Luc Montagnier has died at 89

Luc Montagnier (French researcher), who was awarded a Nobel Prize for 2008 for finding the HIV virus, and has been spreading false claims about the coronavirus since then, France’s local government officials said.

Montagnier, a French suburb of Paris, was killed Tuesday at the American Hospital of Paris (Neuilly-sur Seine), the city hall reported. Other details are not available.

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.

The French Minister for Higher Education and Research, Frédérique Vidal, praised Montagnier’s work on HIV in a written statement Thursday and expressed her condolences to his family.

Montagnier was born in central France’s village of Chabris on 1932.

According to Montagnier’s biography on the Nobel Prize website his medical training was in Paris and Poitiers. Montagnier stated that he was inspired by recent scientific discoveries made in 1957 to become a molecular biologist.

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.

Robert Gallo, an American scientist claimed that the virus was found almost at the same time. This led to disagreement about who should receive credit. In 1987, the United States and France settled a disagreement over the patent for an AIDS-testing device. Gallo was later recognized as the original creator of the test, while Montagnier was later acknowledged as having discovered the virus.

Montagnier began to hold views that were not supported by science after 2000. He was shunned much of the international scientific community for his opinions.

Montagnier was behind misinformation about the origins and spread of COVID-19 around the world.

He claimed that the coronavirus didn’t originate in nature, and was created by manipulators during a 2020 interview with French news station CNews. Experts who studied the genome sequence have confirmed Montagnier’s assertion to be incorrect.

In a French documentary last year, he stated that COVID-19 vaccines were responsible for the creation of coronavirus variations.

The Associated Press spoke to experts who explained that variants across the globe were discovered long before vaccines became widely available.

They stated that the evidence indicates new variants have evolved from prolonged viral infections in people, and not because of vaccines, which are meant to prevent such infections.

Montagnier made a speech in Milan, Italy, earlier this year.

Montagnier was emeritus researcher at the CNRS and Pasteur Institute professor. He received numerous awards, including France’s highest decoration: the Legion of Honor.

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