New Delhi: You are a French virologist, who co-discovered the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in 1983 and received the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 2008. Then, in the midst of a unique global pandemic, you are starting to make headlines on Indian WhatsApp, for apparently saying “there is no chance of survival for people who have received any form of the vaccine (Covid)”.
It is not a thought experiment; this is the true story of Luc Montagnier who in recent years has taken a turning point in the legendary “scientific character” and made headlines for promoting baseless claims about vaccination, homeopathy and, more recently, the Covid-19.
He didn’t really say what the WhatsApp message claims to have done; the fake message forwarded was demystified by many. But Montagnier, 88, has made several unverified claims since the start of the pandemic, and even before that.
In April of last year, when little was known about the new coronavirus, Montagnier said in an interview with a French news channel that the “presence elements of HIV in the coronavirus genome and even elements of the “malaria germ” are highly suspect, “alleging that this was the result of an attempt to formulate an AIDS vaccine.
Previously, he supported controversial theories such as “DNA emits electromagnetic waves” and tried to give credibility to anti-vaccines. A year after winning the Nobel Prize, he claimed that a “good immune system” is enough to protect against AIDS, and also supported a discredited theory of water having memory – the basis of homeopathy.
In 2017, Montagnier was even the target of the wrath of the scientific community, when he sentenced the French government for making certain vaccines compulsory, believing that this “is gradually poisoning the next generation”.
Following this, 106 scientists wrote him an open letter, saying: “We medical academics cannot accept that one of our peers uses his Nobel Prize [status] disseminate dangerous health messages outside of his field of knowledge.
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Loss of credibility
Montagnier was born on August 18, 1932 in the French commune of Chabris. He obtained a license in science in 1953 and in medicine in 1960 at the universities of Poitiers and Paris, and joined the Institut Pasteur in Paris in 1972 as a researcher. It was here that he discovered HIV with his scientific colleague FranÃ§oise BarrÃ©-Sinoussi in 1983.
They eventually won the Nobel Prize for this discovery in 2008, but Montagnier began to lose credibility around this time – his grant applications began to be rejected, leaving him with no money to continue his work.
In a 2010 maintenance at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, he claimed he was leaving Europe for China in order to “escape intellectual terror” and study the electromagnetic waves which he said are emitted by ” highly diluted DNA of various pathogens â.
âI no longer have the right to work in a public institute (in France). I applied for funding from other sources, but I was refused, âhe said.
The previous year, Montagnier had published two controversial studies, one of which claims “Water can carry information via an electromagnetic fingerprint of DNA and other molecules.” The study was published in a journal whose Editorial board it is on. Two decades before Montagnier’s study, another French scientist Jacques Benveniste had writing “That water can retain ‘memories’ of compounds even when diluted to a very high level.”
Montagnier’s paper left Swiss immunologist Alain de Weck “puzzled”, while Andy Lewis – who runs the blog The charlatan – noted in an e-mail to ScienceInsider: “This is classic pathological science – dredging up non-reproducible experiments by practitioners whose expertise is not in these fields in order to support hypotheses that go against well-established scientific principles. “
In a speech at the Lindau Nobel Laureates’ Meeting in Germany in 2010, Montagnier expressed his indirect support for homeopathy.
âI can’t say homeopathy is right about everything. What I can say now is that the high dilutions (used in homeopathy) are right. High dilutions of something are not nothing. These are water structures that mimic the original molecules, âhe said. cited as said by The Huffington Post (now The HuffPost).
Its current whereabouts could not be independently verified; there is little reliable information about it on the Internet.
(Edited by Shreyas Sharma)
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