Nobel Prize awarded for discovery of HIV

This year’s Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to French researchers Françoise Barré-Sinoussi and Luc Montagnier for the discovery of HIV, as well as German researcher Harald zur Hausen for the discovery of human papilloma virus (HPV) types that are linked to the development of cervical cancer, the second most common cancer among women (see VAX February 2006 Spotlight article, Cervical cancer vaccines). These three researchers will share the US$1.4 million prize.
Barré-Sinoussi and Montagnier discovered the retrovirus now known as HIV in 1983, just two years after the first reports of cases described what is now known as AIDS. This critical finding paved the way for the development of methods to test for and diagnose HIV infection and eventually led to the development of antiretroviral drugs to treat HIV. —Andreas von Bubnoff