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Who Discovered HIV?

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The discovery of the HIV virus is credited to Luc Montagnier, a French scientist and researcher as well as Robert Gallo, an American scientist and researcher. Both of them performed separate research and studies to observe the HIV virus and its relationships with AIDS, although only Montagnier won the Noble prize for his discovery.

Luc MontagnierMontagnier won the Nobel Prize for his discovery of the HIV virus.

About Luc Montagnier

Luc Montagnier was born on August 18th, 1932 in France. Being a renowned virologist, in 1982 he was asked to join the research team studying AIDS, then GRID, with Willy Rozenbaum. Willy Rozenbaum correctly speculated the possibility of a retrovirus behind the disease and thus also contributed to the discovery of HIV. Luc Montagnier and his team, however, successfully proved the existence of such causative virus and successfully isolated the virus. However, whether the virus was causing the disease or was an outcome of the disease was yet to be determined.

Robert Charles Gallo

This is where Robert Charles Gallo comes into the picture. Robert Gallo, an American biologist, was born on March 23rd, 1937. Most of his work were based on various types of retrovirus. In 1983, when a research paper done by Luc Montagnier was published in Science magazine, Luc Montagnier named the virus as LAV (lymphadenopathy-associated virus). Robert Gallo, consequently, published a series of four papers in the Science magazine in 1984, stating that a virus was indeed the cause of the AIDS disease. His team also renamed the LAV virus, as named by Luc Montagnier, to Human T-lymphotropic Virus type III (HTLV-III), which will eventually be named as HIV.

Most recognize both as the discoverer of the HIV virus

Both researchers worked separately and there was a considerable amount of doubts on who discovered the existence of the virus first. Eventually, the noble prize would be given to Luc Montagnier for his part in the discovery. Most experts, however, would give credit to both Luc Montagnier and Robert Gallo for their discovery of the HIV virus.