On October 6, 2008, the Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded to Professors Françoise Barré-Sinoussi and Luc Montagnier for their identification of the retrovirus responsible for AIDS at the Institut Pasteur in 1983.
Twenty-five years after the AIDS virus was first isolated, this prize recognized the outstanding work accomplished by the Institut Pasteur's scientists, along with their clinical and research staff. Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, Honorary President of the Virology Department at the Institut Pasteur and of the Institut Pasteur International Network, and also President of the French AIDS charity Sidaction since November 2017, told us the story of this discovery when we spoke to her over the summer.
"The isolation of the HIV-1 virus in 1983 was a major breakthrough," explained the scientist. "It served as a springboard for extensive international research to combat the infection and enabled the rapid development of HIV diagnostic tests. By supporting inventions of this type, which are invaluable for patients, the Institut Pasteur pays tribute to Louis Pasteur's comprehensive approach, which is still so relevant today: multidisciplinary scientific research that benefits public health."
We should point out that the 2008 Nobel Prize was also awarded to Prof. Harald zur Hausen for his discovery of human papillomavirus, which causes cervical cancer.
Fact sheet about HIV/AIDS