The Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine announced today gave the American fraudster Dr. Robert Gallo the snub that was long overdue. By making only a passing mention of his work in the discovery of the HIV (virus) that causes AIDS, while awarding the Prize to Prof. Francoise Barre Sinoussi and Prof. Luc Montagnier, the Nobel Prize committee has shamed Dr. Gallo.
The Prize has kindled the memories of the controversies as to who really discovered the virus. That the aggressive American had brains but no wisdom became soon apparent when the world got to know that he published his results after Prof. Luc published his and yet tried in vain to claim credit for the discovery.
A Congress investigation determined in 1992 that Dr. Gallo had not discovered HIV. The virus that he claimed to have found had actually been taken from a sample sent to him by Prof. Luc.
The Prize now is the last way of confirming who actually discovered the virus.
And it took the Presidents of France and America to intervene and end the controversy. And despite the US Federal Office of Research Integrity accusing him of committing a scientific misconduct, he stands to earn nearly $1 lakh every year as royalties on blood tests.
What a shame.
But it should be mentioned that he made some seminal contributions. So why did the committee not including him? Was it because he was involved in scientific misconduct that turned out to be one of the biggest scientific controveries or was it simply because only three scientists can be ever awarded the prize under one category. So by including him, the committee would have to overlook the German Harald zur Hausen’s discovery that HPV virus causes cervical cancer. If not this year the German would have won it next year or so. So that cannot be the reason. One can one guess that the committee did it intentionally. And Gallo had told the Associated Press reporter that he was disapponinted.
Awarding the Nobel Prize has always been seen as one of the ways of shaming a country or its policies. Remember Dali Lama being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize? That was to shame China. But it was almost always the Peace prize that was used for this purpose. But this is the first time that America has been on the receiving end, and that too in the Medicine category.