Symposium and Gala in Baltimore Mark 25th Anniversary of the Discovery of HIV as Cause of AIDS
Monday, May 11, 2009
Dr. Gallo was presented with a special issue of Science magazine, which has republished his four breakthrough 1984 papers pinpointing the HIV virus as the cause of AIDS.
Institute of Human Virology (IHV) director Dr. Robert Gallo was joined by French scientist Dr. Luc Montagnier for a symposium and gala in Baltimore to mark the 25th anniversary of their co-discovery of HIV as the cause of AIDS.
Co-hosted by the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the National Cancer Institute, the symposium looked back at the origins of research on human retroviruses, progress on combating the virus through a successful research enterprise, and obstacles that still need to be overcome in treatment and prevention for the global AIDS epidemic. The symposium was attended by the world’s leading HIV/AIDS researchers.
"Maryland – and Baltimore in particular – is at the epicenter of the HIV epidemic in the U.S.,” said E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, Vice President for Medical Affairs, University of Maryland, and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor and Dean, University of Maryland School of Medicine. “Fortunately, through the School of Medicine’s Institute of Human Virology, we are now having a direct and major impact on both the local and global AIDS epidemic."
Led by Dr. Gallo since 1996, IHV’s impact includes delivering life-saving medications to approximately a quarter-million HIV-infected patients in Africa. In addition, six separate clinics staffed by Institute professionals serve more than 4,000 patients in Baltimore.
The Gala - "Celebrating a Visionary's Quest for Discovery” – was held at the Baltimore Hilton. "We are honoring Dr. Gallo this weekend not only to celebrate one of our distinguished faculty members, but also to draw attention the continuing problem of HIV/AIDS around the world and, especially, here in Maryland," said Dean Reece. There is no timeline yet for when a vaccine might be available. Finding one is still the "holy grail" of AIDS research, and Dr. Gallo will long be leading the way in the quest for a vaccine.
Gala guests included former Maryland Lt. Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, as well as research colleagues from around the world. After Dean Reece presented Dr. Gallo with an autographed jersey from Brooks Robinson, Gallo's favorite player, the crowd of nearly 300 enjoyed a night of dinner and dancing.
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Kathleen Kennedy Townsend spoke at the gala to honor Dr. Gallo.