Barely a day after he was awarded the Nobel Prize in medicine for discovering HIV 25 years back, French scientist Luc Montagnier has predicted that there would be a “therapeutic vaccine” for AIDS by 2012. Montagnier has shared 2008’s Nobel Prize in medicine with another French researcher Francoise Barre-Sinoussi and Germany’s Harald zur Hausen for discovering the AIDS virus and the role of viruses in cervical cancer.
According to 76-year-old Montagnier, a treatment could be possible in future with a therapeutic vaccine for which the results might be published in three or four years if financial backing is forthcoming.
A therapeutic vaccine normally prevents a disease from flourishing after it has taken hold.
“I think it’ll be possible with a therapeutic vaccine rather than preventative vaccinations. We would give it only to people who are already infected,” the French scientist was quoted by British newspaper ‘The Daily Telegraph’ as saying.
Montagnier and his team, including Barre-Sinoussi, discovered HIV, at the French Pasteur Institute 25 years ago. The work in the early 1980s made it possible to clone the HIV-1 genome.
“The discovery was one prerequisite for the current understanding of biology of the disease and its antiretroviral treatment,” according to a statement issued by Nobel Assembly of Sweden’s Karolinska Institute.