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Swiss researcher wins major scientific prize

A Swiss scientist, Marco Baggiolini, has won Germany's most prestigious scientific award for his research into cells and bacteria. Baggiolini, a professor at Berne University, will be given the Robert Koch medal at a special ceremony later this year.

Baggiolini has been described as the "pioneer of research into chemokines". These are agents, often carried by bacteria, which trigger an immune response or cause inflammation, when they enter the body.

This year, Baggiolini and an American microbiologist, Stanley Falkow, will receive the Robert Koch prize for their work in cell research. Baggiolini will receive a gold medal; Falkow a prize of 100,000 German marks (SFr80,000).

In 1998, Baggiolini was awarded Germany's Emil von Behring prize for his work in determining the role of chemokines in immune response. At the time, it was suggested that his work could have implications in treating patients with HIV, the virus that causes Aids.

Falkow is being honoured for successfully cloning a bacterial molecule responsible for triggering disease.

swissinfo with agencies

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