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Doctors Who Identified AIDS Virus Among Winners of Lasker Award

United Press International

The American and French doctors who identified the virus that causes AIDS and another researcher fighting the deadly disease have been named winners of one of medicine’s highest awards, it was announced Monday.

The other winners of this year’s Albert Lasker Awards are two scientists who discovered a way to control cell growth and an American doctor who virtually eradicated venereal disease in China.

Dr. Robert Gallo of the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md., and Dr. Luc Montagnier of the Pasteur Institute in Paris were cited for their identification of the virus that causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome.

This was the second time Gallo had won the prestigious award, created 41 years ago by the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation to honor medical researchers and promoters of public health.

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The third AIDS researcher to win a Lasker Award is Myron Essex, a veterinarian whose work on the immune system of cats has contributed to the medical community’s knowledge of AIDS. Essex is chairman of the Department of Cancer Biology at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Other winners are Dr. Ma Haide, also known as George Hatem, a senior adviser to the Ministry of Public Health in China.

Dr. Rita Levi-Montalcini, of the Institute of Cell Biology in Rome, and Stanley Cohen, professor of biochemistry at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, were cited for their work in cell biology.

The annual awards, which carry an honorarium of $15,000 for each recipient, are considered one of the highest honors in the international medical community. Forty-two Lasker Award winners have later won Nobel Prizes.

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