Giants in History: Flossie Wong-Staal

The first scientist to clone HIV 

Flossie Wong-Staal (27 August 1946 - 8 July 2020)

China, Hong Kong, United States

Chinese-American virologist and molecular biologist Flossie Wong-Staal (27 August 1946 – 8 July 2020) was the first scientist to clone HIV and determine the function of its genes. Her research laid the groundwork for proving that the virus causes AIDS, in turn leading to the development of HIV diagnostic tests and drug cocktails to treat HIV infections. During her appointment as the Florence Riford Chair in AIDS Research at the University of California, San Diego, Wong-Staal launched the university’s Center for AIDS Research. She was also co-founder of the biopharmaceutical company Immusol, later renamed iTherX Pharmaceuticals, that seeks to develop more effective drugs for treating Hepatitis C. The Institute for Scientific Information named Wong-Staal "the top woman scientist of the 1980s." In 2019, she was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.

(Photo: National Cancer Institute)

University of California San Diego
University of California Los Angeles
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