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Luc Montagnier Dies

Luc Montagnier, who won the Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology in 2008 for his role in the discovery of HIV, has died at 89, the Associated Press reports. Montagnier later, it adds, embraced pseudoscience.

Montagnier began working in AIDS research in 1982 while at the Pasteur Institute and the group led by him and Francoise Barré-Sinoussi isolated the virus now known as HIV, the AP says, adding that Montagnier and Barré-Sinoussi later shared half the 2008 Nobel Prize for their work. But as NPR notes, Robert Gallo at the National Institutes of Health made the definitive connection between that virus and AIDS, which led to a fight over credit for the virus's discovery. That, it says, was settled by the French President Jacques Chirac and the US President Ronald Reagan, with the help of Jonas Salk, the developer of the polio vaccine.

In a statement, current French President Emmanuel Macron called Montagnier's work a "major contribution" to AIDS research, according to the AP.

But as the Washington Post notes, Montagnier's "reputation later plummeted," as he began to support pseudoscientific ideas like that autism could be treated with antibiotics and that water could remember molecules, and later suggested SARS-CoV-2 was made by people.