Luc Montagnier, Nobel winner virologist who co-discovered HIV, dies at 89

His contributions to virology are immense.
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Nobel Prize-winning virologist Luc Montagnier, who took part in discovering the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes AIDS, has died at 89, French news agency AFP announced.

French media first reported that he had died at the American hospital in Neuilly-sur-Seine on February 8th Tuesday but local authorities officially confirmed his death on Thursday.

Montagnier jointly won half of the 2008 Nobel Prize for Medicine with fellow French scientist Francoise Barre-Sinoussi for their role in discovering the virus. The other half was won by German cancer researcher Harald zur Hausen.

Montagnier was born in 1932 in France and gained a Ph.D. in virology at the University of Paris before working at Paris's Faculty of Sciences in 1955. He moved to the Pasteur Institute in 1972 and directed the Viral Oncology Unit, before moving to Queens College, the City University of New York in 1997.

He later became Director of the World Foundation for AIDS Research and Prevention in Paris.

In the years before the onset of the AIDS epidemic, Montagnier had also made significant discoveries concerning the nature of viruses and contributed to the understanding of how viruses can alter the genetic information of host organisms.

Developments in the fight against AIDS

There are many studies on curing AIDS or preventing it. Last year we had our hopes up by the developments on vaccines developed with mRNA technologies. The IAVI and Scripps Research shared the results of Phase I trials last February, announcing that their vaccine successfully stimulated the production of rare immune cells required to begin the process of generating crucial antibodies to fight the rapidly mutating virus. Incredibly, the immune response was detected in 97 percent of trial participants who received the vaccine. 

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And The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that the first injectable medication for use as pre-exposure prevention, or PrEP, against HIV, has been approved, last December. The long-acting drug, Apretude, is intended to reduce the risk of HIV transmission through sex among adults and teenagers who weigh at least 77 pounds (35 kg). 

Apretude is an injectable new drug that can be used instead of HIV prevention pills like Truvada and Descovy, which have been demonstrated to reduce HIV risk by 99 percent when taken on a daily basis.

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