Bernard Belleau (1925 – 1989)

Co-Developer of Anti-AIDS Drug 3TC

How’s this for an achievement: participating in a discovery that is credited with saving over two million lives. Bernard Belleau, along with colleagues Francesco Bellini and Gervais Dionne, developed 2,3 dideoxy – 3-thiacytidine, 3TC for short. The drug slows the spread of AIDS within the body. Perhaps almost as important, it achieves this without the debilitating side effects patients had previously experienced with other drugs. As if that were not enough, in the mid-1970s, Belleau developed a morphine substitute known as Butorphanol, a pain reliever with far fewer side effects. Butorphanol is often used to relieve postsurgical pain and in the management of migraine headaches. Belleau was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1981 and inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame posthumously in 2000. He may not be as well known as others on the list, but for having contributed to the development of medication that has substantially slowed the scourge of AIDS, he should be the Greatest McGillian.