Thirty years after the discovery of the AIDS virus, scientists are preparing for the future

Thirty years after the discovery of the AIDS virus, scientists are preparing for the future

A scientific symposium is organized from this Monday in Paris, to take stock of medical research, and imagine future treatments against AIDS. A symbolic date for this meeting, thirty years after the discovery of the virus by a French team from the Pasteur Institute.

Thirty years ago, on May 20, 1983, the American magazine Science opened its columns to the results of research conducted by French researchers under the direction of Professor Luc Montagnier. Scientists reveal the existence of a new virus, different from those hitherto suspected of being the cause of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS); a deadly virus, an American team confirmed the following year. For this research, Professor Luc Montagnier and Françoise Barré Sinoussi won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2008.

Thirteen years later, in 1996, after extensive research, triple therapies, combined treatments, were born, offering HIV-positive people diagnosed early a longer life expectancy. But so far, no vaccine has been found.

For three days in Paris, the “Imagine the Future” conference, co-organized by the Institut Pasteur, should give rise to numerous presentations of the work of scientists from all over the world, while AIDS is responsible for around 1.8 million deaths on the planet every year. One of the objectives: to better detect the virus, earlier, in an attempt to eradicate it, and not only to control it thanks to treatments.

The question of a preventive vaccine will certainly be studied, but the recent cessation of a promising American study has somewhat shaken the scientific community. So, it will be a question of new molecules, of treatments that last longer and with fewer side effects. Another objective is to pursue research on persistent remission after discontinuation of treatment.

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