The woman who discovered HIV says a ‘cure’ is possible

Francoise Barre-Sinoussi -- Flickr, Academy of Medical Sciences

This week’s podcast features the Nobel Prize-winning scientist and AIDS activist, Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, who was in Seattle this week for a meeting devoted to finding a cure for HIV. That sounds pretty ambitious, right? Or ridiculous, you say? Given that we are now more than 30 years into the pandemic, we still don’t have an effective vaccine and the drugs for treating the infection are needed for the patient’s entire life to stave of AIDS or other related illnesses, it may sound a bit unrealistic, if not hubristic, for scientists to talk of curing HIV.

Yet what was once considered pie-in-the-sky thinking is now in the realm of possibility. Barré-Sinoussi, who shared the 2008 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (yes, they should give it a new name) with her Paris-based Pasteur Institute colleague Luc Montagnier for their 1983 discovery of HIV, is a careful and deliberate researcher not at all prone to hyperbole. Barré-Sinoussi doesn’t like using the simple word ‘cure,’ but she does think a ‘functional cure’ – what cancer docs call long-term remission – is quite possible given some of the latest findings and advances in HIV-AIDS science.

We talk to Barré-Sinoussi about why she thinks a cure, putting HIV into permanent remission, is a real possibility, about why we desperately need a cure because she thinks we will never get the drugs to everyone who needs them, the critical importance of reducing the kind stigma and discrimination against HIV-positive people that still fuels the global spread of this disease and, briefly, about the distasteful episode in which an American scientists, Robert Gallo, tried to steal some of the credit for the original discovery of HIV. Tom Paulson even learns how to (almost) correctly pronounce Barré-Sinoussi’s name.

The Humanosphere podcast was on a hiatus this summer, in part due to some website changes, in part due to it being summer and also in part because Tom broke his 87-year-old mother’s femur (with a badly placed soccer ball kick during the World Cup frenzy) and he needed to do penance. But we are back, new and improved, and open the podcast with a review of some of the news highlights – or low lights, depending upon your perspective.

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About Author

Gabe Spitzer

Gabriel Spitzer covers health and science at KPLU, after a year covering youth and education. He joined KPLU after years covering science, health and the environment at WBEZ in Chicago.

  • Kairo Kidd

    “The fact that the CCR5-delta 32 mutation is restricted to Europe suggests that the plagues of the Middle Ages played a big part in raising the frequency of the mutation. These plagues were also confined to Europe, persisted for more than 300 years and had a 100% case mortality.”

    Around 1900, historians spread the idea that the plagues of Europe were not a directly infectious disease but were outbreaks of bubonic plague, overturning an accepted belief that had stood for 550 years. Professor Duncan and Dr Scott illustrated in their book, Return of the Black Death (2004, Wiley), that this idea was incorrect and the plagues of Europe (1347-1660) were in fact a continuing series of epidemics of a lethal, viral, haemorrhagic fever that used the CCR5 as an entry port into the immune system.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/03/050325234239.htm

    There is a way to cure this and it’s already known.

  • Xenobio

    Make sure to flag spam comments instead of just complaining (click on the flag symbol that appears in the upper right of each comment when you mouse over). Probably the admins/mods don’t have time or don’t have a policy to read each comment individually.

  • Amelida Sophia

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  • juliana smith

    My name is Juliana smith from South Africa i am so very happy to
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  • juliana smith

    My name is Juliana smith from South Africa i am so very happy to
    testify about this great spell caster Dr.Osayi that help me cured my
    HIV disease. I have been suffering from this HIV disease for over 5
    years and i have found know cure, on till this blessed day i was
    browsing through the internet and i saw a woman testifying about
    this great powerful spell caster Dr Osayi who helped her cured her
    HIV disease with a herbal cure. And also i contacted him Dr.Osayi
    and i explain all my problem to him and he told me that i should not
    worry that he is going to help me prepare a herbal medicine for me
    and after that, he told me that he will send me a oil that i will use in
    curing my HIV disease and on the oil there are some rules that i
    will follow in using the oil, and i stood by it, and after using the oil i
    felt changing in me and i went for medical check up and the doctor
    told me that i am cured from the HIV disease and i was so very
    happy now that i am free from HIV disease and also the woman
    mentioned that Dr Osayi can also cure this deadly diseases called
    Cancer, Diabetes, Syphilis, Herpes, i am now saying that anyone
    who is suffering from any of this deadly disease should contact
    this powerful great spell Cannabis oil for cancer caster at his
    email: drosayispellhome50@gmail.com or call his telephone
    number: +2348117646855 he is the right one that can help you
    from any of the diseases. You can also contact him on whatsapp
    on +2348117646855..

  • miranda silva

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