Born: 30 July 1947, Paris, France
Affiliation at the time of the award: Regulation of Retroviral Infections Unit, Virology Department, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France
Prize motivation: "for their discovery of human immunodeficiency virus"
Field: disease transmission, immunity, virology
Prize share: 1/4
Retroviruses are viruses whose genomes consist of RNA and whose genes can be incorporated into host cells' DNA. In 1983, Françoise Barré-Sinoussi and Luc Montaigner discovered a retrovirus in patients with swollen lymph glands that attacked lymphocytes - a kind of blood cell that is very important to the body's immune system. The retrovirus, later named Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), proved to be the cause of the immunodeficiency disease AIDS. This discovery has been crucial in radically improving treatment methods for AIDS sufferers.
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