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2022/02/17/In Honor and Loving Memory of Prof. Luc Montagnier

On February 8th, Prof. Luc Montagnier died at the American Hospital of Paris at the age of 89. After discovering the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in1983, he co-founded the World Foundation Aids Research and Prevention (WFARP) at the UNESCO in Paris with Dr. Mayor Federico Mayor, ex-Director General of UNESCO to focus on research and development into new treatments for HIV/AIDS to reach all suffering patients as well as education for HIV prevention. His achievement led him to win the 2008 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Thanks to his HIV discovery and the efforts of researchers and pharmaceutical companies worldwide, development of effective antiretroviral drugs to treat HIV has turned what was once an almost always fatal infection into a manageable chronic condition by reducing the amount of the virus in the blood close to zero.

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Regarding COVID-19, I received a phone call from Prof. Montagnier in early January 2020 when he was in Guangzhou City, in China which is the country where the novel coronavirus epidemic first broke. He launched into his theory on COVID-19 from a very early stage, based on his knowledge acquired through his researches as virologist. Since he was very open and candid in the best interests for others, his opinion caused considerable friction. However, he said "Since I am already in my late eighties and have nothing to lose, I tell the truth to do things for people." People in France reacted negatively in the beginning, but he gained broad support now.

My last conversation with him was made on 14th of January 2022, when he was at the airport on the way to Milan, Italy. He sounded cheerfully and his words repeatedly saying "Thank you for calling, thank you." is vividly retained in my memory. His theory was "To live is to fight for others." He had a cardiac surgery five years ago. I think that he knew how long he would live and decided to gather his last energy to travel to Italy and Luxembourg.

I remember that he loved cats and enjoyed taking a nap with my cat named Aston when he visited my house in Gifu.

Lastly, I would like to continue to making efforts for HIV preventive education through activities at the WFARP Japan Office to protect health of young people, according to the wish of Prof. Montagnier.

February 14, 2022
Yuki Hayashi
President of WFARP
Japan Office

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