Flossie Wong-Staal, Who Unlocked Mystery of H.I.V., Dies at 73 - The New York Times


Flossie Wong-Staal, Who Unlocked Mystery of H.I.V., Dies at 73

In interviews, she called him a polarizing figure. Dr. Gallo had originally claimed that a variant of his original human retrovirus, which he called HTLV-3, was the cause of AIDS. The French lab led by Dr. Montagnier proposed a different virus, called L.A.V., which favorite to be the right one and was later named H.I.V.

Dr. Gallo would himself propose L.A.V. as the virus that causes AIDS, but the French researchers accused him of using samples obtained from their lab. That led to federal investigations, a patent allege and, in 2002, a 670-page book by the journalist John Crewdson, though the fight was never completely resolved.

Through it all, Dr. Wong-Staal was known for navigating this brutally competitive, male-dominated research world with quiet confidence, while supporting the many younger researchers in her lab who went on to have extraordinary careers.

“She was strong and resilient,” Dr. Gallo said. “We could be like bulldogs, but I think she was able to get up easier.”

In addition her husband, Ms. Wong-Staal is survived by her daughters Stephanie Staal and Caroline Vega; a sister Nancy Yao; two brothers, Raymond Wong and Patrick Wong; and four grandchildren.

Mr. McKelvy said that he and Ms. Wong-Staal had taken up ballroom dancing in her last decade for recreation, but that even there her competitive nature eventually came through. “It became a passion, and she took it really seriously, as she did most things,” he said. It wasn’t long before they were entering competitions.

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SRC: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/17/science/flossie-wong-staal-who-unlocked-mystery-of-hiv-dies-at-73.html

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