In Memoriam: Nobel Laureate Luc Montagnier

Professor Luc Montagnier, an eminent French virologist who received the 2008 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, died on February 8, 2022, at the age of 89 in Paris. Sharing the award with Françoise Barré-Sinoussi and Harald sur Hausen, he was lauded as a co-discoverer of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the agent that causes AIDS.

Nobel Laureate Luc Montagnier

The discovery was made in the early 1980s at the Pasteur Institute, where he had founded and directed the Viral Oncology Unit. As a leading advocate for the prevention and treatment of AIDS, in the 1990s he co-founded and led the World Foundation for AIDS Research and Prevention.

In recent years, he extended his research objectives to the infectious origins of several chronic diseases, including cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, autism, and Lyme disease.

Based on his research and that of others, he took controversial positions on several fronts, such as his view that water carries a certain type of “memory,” and vaccines can be harmful because of the aluminum adjuvant added to them. He postulated that the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 had accidentally escaped from a virology lab in Wuhan, China. He cautioned against the use of vaccines against this virus, believing that the vaccines may trigger the production of new variants of the virus.

Prof. Montagnier was passionate about environmental issues that related to human health. He was particularly concerned about bacteria, viruses and parasites, stating in 2020 at the 26th International Conference on the Unity of the Sciences (ICUS): “Some kind of intelligence exists in parasites, as they try to use every weakness in our immune system. A recent example of this is the fact that some soil bacteria—bacteria that are normally associated with the roots of the plants we cultivate—have learned to change their host and infect animals and humans.” He lamented that this serious global issue was being “ignored completely” because the invisible, silent invasion “is detectable only by molecular techniques.”

Montagnier went on to say that humanity, being “at the top” of the “biological and cultural evolution,” has a responsibility, particularly since “human activities are now a menace to our own environment, with effects on all living things.” To maintain our position at the top of the natural world, he advised recalling that “we are really fragile, and we are to be in harmony with nature.” He concluded that “what we take from nature, we should donate back to nature” and urged a return to Hippocrates’ admonition to “first do no harm.” [1]


[1] Montagnier, Luc. “Opening Remarks,” “Concluding Remarks.” ICUS XXVI. Resolving Environmental Threats for the Benefit of Humanity — Proceedings. Washington, DC: Hyo Jeong International Foundation for the Unity of Sciences (HJIFUS), 2020.

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