An ongoing dialogue on HIV/AIDS, infectious diseases,
October 8th, 2008
The French Win This One
The 2008 Nobel Prize in Medicine goes to and
For the record, if you search the Nobel press release for the word “Gallo”, you won’t find it mentioned anywhere.
Why is this notable? Seems like ancient history, but actually two groups in 1983 claimed they discovered the virus that causes AIDS, both finding a human retrovirus — the one we now know as HIV. The French group called it “lymphadenopathy-associated virus” or LAV, and the Americans (led by Robert Gallo) “human T-lymphotropic virus III” or HTLV-III. We now know it was the same virus — indeed, due to “lab contamination,” sometimes literally the same — and that the French were first, but maybe (am being generous here) the Americans were a bit more practical (and certainly louder) about the implications of the discovery.
An academic truce of sorts ensued many years later — this was much less entertaining, but perhaps a good thing for international relations, at least until “Freedom Fries.”
interesting piece of information!!!