The Race to Discover the AIDS Virus

Luc Montagnier vs Robert Gallo

From the Series Scientific Rivalries and Scandals

  • Interest Level: Grade 6 - Grade 12
  • Reading Level: Grade 8

In the early 1980s, doctors sounded the alarm. A mysterious new disease—acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, or AIDS—was spreading around the world. While many of the first AIDS patients were gay men, no one seemed to be immune from the deadly blood-borne disease.

Researchers set to work to discover what was causing AIDS. They suspected a virus. Two teams of scientists—one in the United States and one in France—worked tirelessly to identify the virus and to develop a blood test to detect it. The news on April 23, 1984, that the U.S. team, led by Robert Gallo at the National Cancer Institute, had isolated the virus was a cause for celebration. But in Paris, France, Luc Montagnier and his team at the Pasteur Institute were furious and frustrated. They had uncovered the AIDS virus, they claimed, and now Gallo was taking credit for their discovery.

The battle over who would be recognized for discovering the AIDS virus is a complex and compelling story, filled with mystery, deception, and hope. It involves sophisticated microbiology, the coveted Nobel Prize in Medicine, big egos, and great amounts of money. In this book, author Stuart Kallen chronicles this riveting human tale about a bitter scientific rivalry.

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Interest Level Grade 6 - Grade 12
Reading Level Grade 8
Genre Science, Young Adult
Copyright 2013
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Twenty-First Century Books ™
Language English
Number of Pages 64
Publication Date 2012-08-01
Reading Counts! Level 11.4
Text Type Narrative Nonfiction
BISACS YAN050110, YAN050010, YAN050000
Dewey 614.5'99392
Graphics 1-color illustrations
Dimensions 6 x 8.5
Lexile 1140
ATOS Reading Level 9.0
Accelerated Reader® Quiz 153210
Accelerated Reader® Points 2.0
Features Bibliography/further reading, Charts/Graphs/Diagrams, Glossary, Index, Photo captions, Reviewed, Sidebars, Source notes, Teaching Guides, and eSource

Author: Stuart A. Kallen

Stuart A. Kallen has written more than 350 nonfiction books for children and young adults. His books have covered a wide arc of human history, culture, and science. Kallen is also an accomplished singer-songwriter and guitarist in San Diego, California.

Lerner eSource™ offers free digital teaching and learning resources, including Common Core State Standards (CCSS) teaching guides. These guides, created by classroom teachers, offer short lessons and writing exercises that give students specific instruction and practice using Common Core skills and strategies. Lerner eSource also provides additional resources including online activities, downloadable/printable graphic organizers, and additional educational materials that would also support Common Core instruction. Download, share, pin, print, and save as many of these free resources as you like!

Scientific Rivalries and Scandals

Bribery. Theft. Betrayals and lifelong feuds. Intense competition leading to bitter disputes has characterized the relationships among some of the world’s greatest scientific innovators. This one-of-a-kind series combines math, science, history, and biography to expose the rivalries… View available downloads →


School Library Journal, Series Made Simple

“These books showcase major scientific developments and the brutal competition behind the scenes. They are highly engaging accounts of researchers resorting to cheap shots, spying, and double crossing to take credit for pivotal discoveries. But they are also disturbing documentation of how ego can trump the greater good… Written cleanly and fluidly, these titles let the drama and occasional absurdity of the players’ actions speak for themselves.” —School Library Journal, Series Made Simple