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Born on this Day A Woman's Work
30 July 2013

A Woman's Work

In 1981 clinicians were alarmed by the sharp rise in the number of people they were seeing with swollen lymph glands (nodes) and infections that betrayed a failed immune system. Finding the cause was a matter of urgency. After months of painstaking experiments, culturing cells from an affected patient’s lymph node Françoise Barré-Sinoussi – born on this day in 1947 – had found the culprit, a virus. Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the cause of the immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) had been identified in less than two and a half years. Research into how to treat it and limit its spread could begin. Barré-Sinoussi – along with her mentor at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, France, Luc Montagnier – received the Nobel Prize for her work in 2008. Today she challenges government and religious heads about how they are tackling HIV, contraception and the distribution of anti-retroviral drugs.

Written by Lindsey Goff

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What is BPoD?

BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

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BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.