This paper examines the role played by Montagnier and Robert Gallo and their differences in the inventory of the cause of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). Both are in the field of biomedical and have been involved in many types of research although the discovery of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) appears to be the major one. They have been having differences in who discovered the cause of AIDS and even Robert Gallo was denied the opportunity awarded a Nobel Prize due to scientific misconduct. Notably, they had differences for almost a decade but by 1993, Dr. Gallo approached Montagnier. During the meeting, they agreed that they both contributed to the discovery of human immunodeficiency as the cause of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) (Fouts, et al. 2015). They were both categorized as the leading scientists in the world after several searches that they conducted. Even though they collaborated on some work they still have professional differences. Dr. Gallo argues that vaccines can be developed by attaching salmonella bacteria with the HIV genes on the other hand Dr. Montagnier argues that vaccines can only be abstracted from HIV proteins (Afeltowicz, 2012).
Robert Gallo is an American virologist in the field of biomedical where he mostly involves himself in research as well as discoveries. According to Harden and Fauci, (2012) the most influential discovery was that of HIV as the infectious agent for acquired immune deficiency syndrome. In the Institute of Human Virology which is in the University of Maryland, Department of Medicine, Gallo is recognized as the co-founder as well as the director.
Robert Gallo was born to Italian immigrants in Waterbury, United States. In the year 1959, he received a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from the Province College. Four years later, Gallo earned himself a master’s degree in the same field from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. After his education at Chicago University, he involved himself to research mainly at National Cancer Institute. While in the institution he was appointed the head of the Laboratory of Tumor Cell Biology where he worked for thirty years. He once stated that his career did not just happen but was influenced much by the death of his sister who suffered from leukemia.
Robert discovered retroviruses in humans
While he was the head of the laboratory, he had many colleagues such as David Baltimore who helped him in his research. Concerning the work of retroviruses Gallo was influenced by the work of the late Howard Temin who was a biologist in the same institution. He then concentrated on the study of retroviruses as the primary objective in the laboratory. In 1976, he requested one of his colleagues by the name Doris Morgan, to do research on culture fluid of activated lymphocytes and then present the results. Curreli et al. (2013) indicate that T lymphocytes probably led to growth factor production. A group of scientists composed of Frank Rossetti, Morgan, and Robert authored a paper describing the T-cell growth factor (TCGF) in their method. In 1978, there was a formation of a committee name Interlaken cytokine nomenclature changed the name T growth factor to interleukin-2 (IL-2). The latter group never described the biological effects of soluble molecules (Lewis, DeVico, & Gallo, 2014).
In the report, Dr. Gordon stated that extracellular media was functional in the transformation of blastogenic in the lymphocytes. Their report was not clearly described hence they never described the growth cell, type of cell, and the factors involved in the functions of the same. Initially, T-cells were thought to be dead cells over IL-2, they were meant to be grown by culture in T-cell immunology (Cocchi et al. 2012). Gallo’s group was not satisfied hence they wanted to come up with purified and biochemically IL-2. They were in a position to grow T-cells while observing them and noting viruses that affected them. They discovered the T-cell leukemia virus (HTLV) as the retrovirus in humans. There was an outbreak of rare leukemia at the time; this made independent Japanese researchers to search for the cause of the disease. The two groups had the same results thereby concluding T-cells as the first retrovirus in human beings. Following the research, Gallo was awarded Lasker Award due to his leading role in the discovery. Subsequently, he has been awarded several prizes and awards due to his great work.
In May in 1983, Gallo and his group published a scientific journal composed of four papers. In the paper, they demonstrated that the retrovirus that they had discovered was likely to be the cause of AIDS (Harden, & Fauci, 2012). Their results were resisting with that of the Pasteur Institute led by Luc Montergnier. The latter group observed that the retrovirus known as the lymphadenopathy-associated virus was the cause of AIDS. They got their results from a patient who was associated with AIDS. Later, Gallo discovered that the retrovirus that was named HIV-1 was the cause of Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) (Curreli et al 2013). Afterward, Gallo and other four doctors in his laboratory discovered human herpesvirus 6 caused an infertile disease known as Roseola infantum. In the same Gallo was awarded the Larker award for the second time.
Paolo Lusoo, Fiorenza Cocchi, and Gallo published a medical paper where they indicated that chemokines were compounds that occurred naturally and were HIV inhibitors. In 1995, their research was announced as the scientific breakthrough of the year by a scientific magazine. In their research, they described the role played by chemokines in controlling the progression of HIV in the human body (Cocchi, et al 2013). At the same time, they demonstrated how the white blood cells are affected by the virus until they are eventually dysfunctional. After that entry inhibitors or chemokine antagonists were recognized as drugs used to treat HIV. Co-receptors for HIV infection were as well recognized, the molecule was said to be the HIV inhibitory molecules bind (Guan, et al 2014).
The Institute of Human Virology was founded in the year 1996. The primary founders were William Blattner, Robert Redfield, and Robert Gallo. Gallo led the team and they continued to support the ongoing scientific research on people living with HIV/AIDS (Harden, & Fauci, 2012). In Baltimore, they treated almost six thousand patients while in Africa and the Caribbean they treated over half a million patients. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundations awarded Gallo and his team $ 15 million in 2007 to continue with their research for the cure of the deadly disease. During the second phase of the study, they received $ 23.4 million from a consortium of funding sources. Additionally, the U.S army’s Military HIV Research Program (MHRP) donated $ 2.2 million for the project.
Issue of Nobel Prize
Even though Gallo has received several awards due to his discovery he was never awarded the biggest award which is the Nobel Prize. The reason behind this was that a group in France led by Montagnier was said to have isolated HIV more than a year before Gallo’s group. The Gallo group involved themselves in scientific research to a point of even growing a T-cell in order to determine the virus that causes AIDS. All this was not recognized since it was the Montagnier’s group that published their results first and stated that the cause of AIDS is yet to be determined.
An investigative journalist by the name of Crewdson observed that there was a misappropriated sample of HIV in Gallo’s research. Furthermore, the National Institutes of Health conducted their investigations and suggested that the Gallo group somehow put their things in their research. Due to these differences, the United State Office of Integrity had to analyze some samples that were established at the Laboratory of Cell Biology and from the Pasteur Institute. The analysis was done from 1983-1985 and was commissioned by the Hoffmann –La Roche group of scientists. The conclusion of the experts was that the samples used in Gallo’s laboratory were from the mountaineer’s lab. Montagnier confirmed this by indicating that they had sent a sample of the culture to Gallo’s lab not knowing it contained the virus. They also observed that the virus was passed from one person to the other.
On 28 May 1985, the United States Department of Health and Human Services was declared the inventor of HIV viruses (Alizon et al 2013). On the reaction to this, Montagnier filed a suit to challenge the patent. The governments agreed with the Pasteur Institute, the agreement led to Montagnier and Gallo being named as the co-discoverers. The two guys collaborated again in 1987 for the appearance of natural chronology. In 2002 they both wrote an article where they published their fundamental role in the discovery of HIV. In 2008, Montagnier was awarded with Nobel Prize together with his colleagues but Gallo was not recognized. Montagnier stated that even Gallo was supposed to be on the list but unfortunately he was not.
In 2005, Gallo founded a biotechnology company where profectus were developed and technologies commercialized in order to reduce the mortality rate mostly caused by viral diseases such as HIV/AIDS (Alizon et al 2013). In 2011, Gallo with various professors in the field of medicine co-founded the Global Virus Network (GVN). The Global Virus Network was mainly to reduce the gaps that existed in the earliest research of viral epidemics. They also offered training programs to upcoming virologists in order for them to deal with such challenges effectively and efficiently.
Luc Montagnier is a French nationalist popularly known due to his work in the discovery of HIV viruses. He was raised by a humble parents in Chabris, a village located in the Sothern part of France. During his early childhood, his father suffered from streptococcal arthritis which was a terrible disease. During the Second World War, there was starvation in the country that made Montagnier never add even a single gram for several years. At the time, he used to visit his grandfather who suffered from cancer. In 1947 two years after the war his grandfather passed on and Montagnier was significantly affected. Due to his father’s and his grandfather’s incidences, he made up his mind and decided to study medicine and research the cause and cure of cancer.
While in high school he performed perfectly well and he was always ahead of the other students. Even though he grew up in a Roman Catholic Church, he left behind his beliefs and acknowledged himself to science. His father used his leisure time on electric batteries. The scientific life of his father influenced him and set up a chemistry laboratory in their house. While still doing his staff he used the knowledge and skills gained from school to produce hydrogen gas and nitrogen compounds. He says that the nitrogen products had a tendency of blowing his face from time to time.
Since he was good in both chemistry and physics he was therefore capable of reading popular physics books, especially atomic physics. Since he was not good in math he decided not to register for Grande’s Ecoles but instead register for both Faculty of sciences and the school of medicine in Poitiers. His initial passion was to start research in human biology but unfortunately, there was no such field in the school. While in Poitiers he spent his morning hours in the hospital while in the afternoon he was supposed to attend courses in geology, botany, and zoology. The latter three were the core disciplines in the field of science. Luc liked his new professor in the school by the name Pierre Gavaudan. The teacher taught him about the classification of plants and went far ahead and taught about DNA double helix. It is during this time that Luc learned about the synthesis of protein by ribosomes as well as viruses’ structure (Goicochea et al 2014).
Luc Montagnier’s involvements in research
At Poitiers, he made his first research at the age of twenty-one years. The most influential factor was the availability of facilities such as the microscope that was used by his father. He involved himself in studying the phototaxy of chloroplasts. The Phototaxy of chloroplasts is where some algae show their unique size when exposed to light. He observed that in intense light the algae enlarged while in darkness they reduced their size. Since the observation took only a few minutes he used cinematography for his observations (Mbopi-Kéouet et al 2012). He then proudly, presented the small thesis at the faculty of sciences in Poitiers. Immediately after this time, he left Poitiers for Paris for further studies. While in Paris he was exposed to aspects of biology such as oncology, virology, and neurophysiology.
In 1957 he was influenced by Fraenkel and Schramm to become a virologist by using the modern approach of molecular biology. The mentioned professors described that the tobacco mosaic virus was caused by Ribonucleic acid viruses. In his study, Montagnier identified that the murine encephalomyocarditis virus was produced by a double-stranded Ribonucleic acid. He also demonstrated how Ribonucleic acid can replicate like deoxyribonucleic acid (Gallo, & Jay, 2012). Since he wanted to perfect his knowledge of oncogenic viruses he moved to Glasgow. The reason for him to move was that the Institute was where Michael Stocker who was a major virologist at the time was teaching. Additionally, a person like Renato Dulbecco who was recognized globally in the field of virology was spending his time there.
During the 1970s Ribonucleic acid polymerase was isolated and it resulted in viral particles such as the stomatitis virus. At the time they discovered that oncogenic Ribonucleic acid could as well be associated with a key enzyme in the human body Another group found that the Rous sarcoma virus was infectious and transported viral information to Ribonucleic acid. Montagnier on his side approved the discovery by further stating that the chromosomal deoxyribonucleic acid was the main cause of the infection.
In 1973, he was appointed the head of the laboratory in the newly created department of virology, where he was further asked to conduct all research in the institution. His primal aim was to discover the causes of cancer. In 1975, he was joined by experts such as Chermann and Francoise Sinoussi. He convinced the two researchers to join his research about the causes cancer. They started their research immediately and could receive blood samples from various hospitals in Paris.
Denis Morgan and Frank Ruscetti who were collaborators with Dr. Gallo discovered that in Vitro multiplication of human T lymphocytes was enhanced by a growth factor in the body. Luc said that the retroviruses in the mouse mammary tumor formation were not caused by either circulating lymphocytes or tumor cells (Curreli et al 2013). With that knowledge, Montagnier and his group tested for retroviruses in human cancers. They mostly researched anti-interferon serums and focused on breast cancer patients. In 1980, the group observed a deoxyribonucleic acid sequence in an African woman’s breast cells. The only disadvantage was that they lacked developed machines and they could not determine whether they were dealing with an exogenous virus or an endogenous retroviral.
The same knowledge used in cancer discovery was also used in the isolation of the human immunodeficiency virus. In 1982, a new and terrible disease was discovered and it was likely that the mysterious disease was caused by a transmissible virus. Even though there were few cases in France immunologists as well as clinicians became interested in the condition. Luc Montagnier was approached by Francoise to organize a search for the disease. The search that was conducted was from a gay who was traveling to the USA from time to time. The young man was showing early signs of the disease and was having a swollen node on his neck (Chang, Gallo, & Wong-Staal, 2014).
The research was initiated and it involved the growing of T cells. Francoise suggested that they be measuring RT activity after every three days like in the previous case of cancer. In the second week, a positive result appeared, that is polymeric DNA incorporated with radioactive thioamide (Montagnier et al 2014). Even though they discovered that the cause was mainly a virus they were not sure whether it was just a passing virus or the real cause of the disease. For them to find the answers they had to test the virus chemically as well as immunologically. They found that when the virus was put under activated T lymphocytes it was easily propagated.
After a short period, they discovered the virus causing AIDS was not related to the T-cell leukemia virus. When observed by microscope the particles from both viruses were entirely different. In fact under the electron microscope, the virus was similar to visna virus in sheep. The virus was causing long-term infections in horses as well as sheep and was said to come from the same family as the new virus in human beings. After the observation, Montagnier had to reorganize himself again since he and his team were dealing with a different virus. Every week, the Montagnier’s associates were supposed to bring their data on the ongoing research of the virus. The lymphadenopathy-associated virus was the name given to the viral isolates. The early signs of the disease appeared to be swollen lymph nodes. By September 1983, Montagnier was able to make the presentation of the data collected for a couple of months.
According to my opinion, the committee that was involved in awarding the 2008 medicine Nobel Prize was not fair hence they never recognized Gallo. Dr. Gallo and Luc went further and wrote an article identifying themselves as the primary discoverers of HIV. A committee that shows transparency in such awards should be appointed to prevent future discrimination of the same. It is noted that even Montagnier himself was surprised for the committee not to recognize Dr.Gallo although he never refused to receive the award.
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