The insurrection relates to the part time appointment of Nobel Prize winner Luc Montagnier at the centre due to his embrace of theories that are far from the scientific mainstream, as well as what they claim are anti-vaccination views. The laureates believe that Montagniers views could damage the reputation and standing of the clinic and damage health prevention and improvement measures in Cameroon.
The CIRCB, founded in 2006, is named after President Biya’s wife, who has championed efforts to fight AIDS in Africa. Montagnier’s AIDS foundation was a founding partner; Montagnier is also president of the now-defunct scientific advisory board, and vice-president of the management board.
The current crisis compounds problems caused by the centre’s lack of stable full-time leadership. In March, its management committee appointed Montagnier to replace former interim scientific director Vittorio Colizzi, an AIDS researcher on secondment from the Tor Vergata University in Rome, who had held the post since 2009.
Montagnier says that he intends to continue all research previously approved by the board, and that he will ask the next board to review the programme. He also plans to embark on new research, including a “key project” using his electromagnetic-wave theory to detect reservoirs of HIV in the body that persist after antiretroviral treatment.