Who Discovered AIDS?

Aids was discovered in 1984 when three research groups directed by Dr. Gallo, Dr. Jay Levy from San Francisco’s University of California and Dr. Luc Montagnier of Pasteur Institute in Paris, unanimously identified that a retrovirus was responsible for causing AIDS. The virus was given a different name by each group: HTLV-III, ARV and LAV respectively.

Similar to numerous instances in scientific history, there was an emergence of contention regarding who discovered the virus first. Dr. Luc Montagmier gave a report that isolated LAV, the new retrovirus, in May 1983, although when the association between LAV and AIDS was stated, there was no claim of AIDS being caused by LAV.

However, in 1984 May, Gallo and other parties published certain science papers proving that the retrovirus responsible for causing Aids was HTLV-III. In June the same year Montagnier and Gallo were at a mutual press conference and an announcement was made regarding both LAV and HTLV-III viruses to the effect that they were probably similar.

This similarity indicated that a contamination might have existed in the laboratory of Gallo. The Aids research field was in turmoil for the subsequent three years while Montagnier and Gallo disputed over which party had really made the discovery.

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