French virologist Luc Montagnier, a Nobel laureate, went viral on Indian WhatsApp, claiming that the Covid vaccine would lead its recipients to an early death. Horrific right? Although this particular sentence has been proven false, he has made many such claims.
Why did he go viral?
Montagnier was born on 18th August 1932 to the French commune of Chabris. He took his degree in science from the University of Poitiers in 1953, in medicine in 1960 at the University of Paris. In 1972. The young man joined the Pasteur Institute in Paris as a research scientist. That’s where he was known to discover HIV with fellow scientist Francoise Barré-Sinoussi.
The French virologist was awarded the Nobel prize in 2008 after co-discovering the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in 1983. However, amidst a global pandemic, he started making headlines, saying, “there is no chance of survival for people who have received any form of the Covid vaccine”.
While the recent viral WhatsApp forward was proven to be a fake message, the virologist has made several statements in the past, about vaccination that are said to be baseless and unscientific.
What does he claim?
Montagnier claimed that Covid-19 was a deadly man-made (he claims this to be a lab accident) virus from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. This claim might not be entirely false, as the theory is gaining steam with new proofs and investigations. He is also not the only entity to claim this. The United States is also officially looking into this theory as we write this.
Last year in April, the world was hit with the novel coronavirus. This was when the old virologist had claimed in an interview that the “presence of elements of HIV in the genome of the coronavirus and even elements of the ‘malaria’ should be highly suspected”. He asked, “why on earth this new virus possesses traces of the existing diseases.” This was when he claimed that novel coronavirus resulted from trying to formulate a vaccine against Aids.
Before all these claims, he claimed that a “good immune system” can protect an individual from Aids. He has supported many controversial theories. He believes that ‘DNA emits electro-magnetic waves which, according to him, the anti-vaxxers should hold credit for.” He also supported a discredited theory of water possessing memory of compounds after dilutions.
In 2017, Montagnier condemned the French government for making certain vaccines mandatory; he remarked that this would poison the next generation little by little. In response to this sentence, his peer scientists wrote a public sentence stating: “We, academics of medicine, cannot accept that one of our peers is using his Nobel prize status to spread dangerous health-related messages outside of his field of knowledge.”
Credibility is everything in the field of science
In 2010, Montagnier said in an interview with the American Association for the Advancement of Science, that he was leaving Europe for China to escape the “Intellectual terror”. He wanted to focus on electro-magnetic waves that he believed are emitted by “highly diluted DNA of various pathogens”.
As mentioned earlier, Montagnier supported and published two controversial studies. The theories claimed that water could carry information via an electro-magnetic imprint from DNA and other molecules. However, this was not new to the world, as decades before his study, another French scientist Jacques Benveniste believed that water could retain ‘memories’ of compounds even when diluted at a very high level. The Swiss immunologist Alain de Weck was also left puzzled reading the laureate’s paper.
Andy Lewis (‘the Quackometer’) said in an email to Science Insider: “This is classic pathological science dredging around in the noise of irreproducible experiments by practitioners whose expertise is not in these fields to support hypotheses that fly in the face of well-established scientific principles.”
What do you think causes a once Nobel Laureate to go against his own brethren and the proven foundation of science? Comment below.