by Diana Tegenkamp
Luc Montagnier, the French researcher known world-wide as the discoverer of HIV, gave an overview of his work in a public lecture on November 12.
He charted the evolution of his HIV/AIDS research from his
discovery of the human immuno-deficiency virus in 1983 to his present work as director of the Bernard and Gloria Salick Centre for Molecular and Cellular Biology, at Queen's College, in New York.
For the average person, Montagnier's technical address might have been best appreciated as a form of abstract poetry, and the projected images of necklace-like viral patterns and pie-charts as a sort of avant-garde visual art.
However, during the question period, he fielded queries that ranged from gender issues in medical studies to the prohibitive costs of drugs and the politics behind pharmaceutical companies. The major question, of course, was, When will there be a cure for AIDS?
Montagnier gave no easy, reassuring reply. AIDS could be probably eradicated in the next century by combining three approaches. The first is prevention -- educating people and making sure they are aware that HIV/AIDS still exists.
The second would be to raise socio-economic levels, as it is clear that AIDS is now mostly a disease of poor people, and finally, research -- finding better treatments for HIV-positive people and developing a vaccine against HIV.
Montagnier's lecture was part of the Concordia University Community Lecture Series on HIV/AIDS. He was introduced by Mark Wainberg, director of the McGill AIDS Centre.
The next lecture in the series is by Ron Athey, a U.S. performance artist, on Thursday, January 21, at 5:30 p.m. in H-110. A concert by Athey with jazz vocals by Christina Thompson will take place at the Saidye Bronfman Centre for the Arts on Saturday, January 23, at
8 p.m. for information, please call 848-4234.