Nobel Prize for Medicine Awarded to Discoverers of HIV
French scientists Francoise Barre-Sinoussi and Luc Montagnier were awarded the 2008 Nobel Prize in medicine on Monday for their work in the discovery of HIV, AFP/Yahoo! Asia News reports. The award was shared with Harald zur Hausen, who discovered the human papillomavirus (AFP/Yahoo! Asia News, 10/6). The Nobel Assembly of the Nobel Foundation in a statement said that the "significance" of Barre-Sinoussi and Montagnier's "achievements should be viewed in the context of a global ubiquitous epidemic affecting close to 1% of the population" (Nobel Foundation release, 10/6). The statement also said that the discovery of HIV was a prerequisite for current understanding of the biology of HIV/AIDS and antiretroviral treatment. It added, "This has allowed identification of important details in its replication cycle and how the virus interacts with its host. Furthermore, it led to development of methods to diagnose infected patients and to screen blood" (Ritter/Moore, AP/Los Angeles Times, 10/6).
HIV/AIDS Advocate Under Consideration for Nobel Peace Prize Award
In related news, Chinese HIV/AIDS advocate Hu Jia is one of the 197 nominees for the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize, which will be announced on Oct. 10, Reuters reports (Acher, Reuters, 10/6). Hu currently is serving a prison sentence for allegedly attempting to subvert state power (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS report, 9/29). Stein Toennesson, director of the International Peace Research Institute, said, "I think the most likely winner this year will be a Chinese dissident," adding that the "two most likely candidates" are Hu and advocate Gao Zhisheng (Reuters, 10/6).
NPR's "Morning Edition" on Monday included a discussion with NPR science correspondent Richard Knox about the Nobel Prize in medicine (Inskeep, "Morning Edition," NPR, 10/6).