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Françoise Barré-Sinoussi

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Barré-Sinoussi at a 2008 press conference.
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Françoise Barré-Sinoussi (30 July 1947–) is a French virologist and Nobel Prize winner. She was awarded the 2008 Nobel in Physiology or Medicine with Luc Montagnier for their co-discovery of HIV (Human Immunodeficiency) and it being the cause of AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) in the early 1980s.[1] An important breakthrough during the early stages of the AIDS crisis, this discovery helped pave the way for many new types of drugs to combat the illness. Sinoussi continues to study HIV virology to this day.

Early life[edit]

Barré-Sinoussi was born in Paris in 1947. None of her family worked in medicine or research, but she had always been fascinated by the mechanisms of life. Regarding university, she was torn between studying science and medicine, but ultimately chose science.[2]

Scientific career[edit]

Barré-Sinoussi earned a Ph.D. (1975) at the Pasteur Institute in Garches, France, and did postdoctoral work in the United States at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland. In 1975 she joined the Pasteur Institute in Paris, and in 1996 she became head of the Retrovirus Biology Unit (later called Regulation of Retroviral Infections Unit) there.[3]

HIV discovery[edit]

When Montagnier led efforts at the Pasteur Institute in 1982 to determine a cause for AIDS, Barré-Sinoussi was a member of his team. Through dissection of an infected patient’s lymph node, they determined that AIDS was caused by a retrovirus, which came to be known as HIV. Their work led to the development of new antiviral drugs and diagnostic methods.[4][5] For her work, Sinoussi has been credited with helping save large numbers of people around the world from an early AIDS related death.

See also[edit]

  • HIV/AIDS denialism In spite of overwhelming evidence, some still deny a link between HIV and Aids.

External links[edit]


  1. "The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2008". Retrieved 2020-01-16.
  2. Pincock, S. (2008). Françoise Barré-Sinoussi: shares Nobel Prize for discovery of HIV. The Lancet, 372(9647), 1377.
  3. "Francoise Barre-Sinoussi | Biography, Nobel Prize, & Facts". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2020-01-17.
  4. ibid.
  5. "Ten years ago, Françoise Barré-Sinoussi and Luc Montagnier won the Nobel Prize in Medicine". Institut Pasteur. 2018-10-04. Retrieved 2020-01-16.