Agenda For U.S. AIDS Research Is Due For A Complete Overhaul

Author: Robert S. Root-Berstein
Date: April 4, 1994

A recent front-page article in The Scientist (F. Hoke, "National AIDS Task Force Expected To Accelerate Drug Development," Feb. 7, 1994, page 1) reported that a newly formed, United States government-backed, 15-member panel intends, among other things, to improve communication between pharmaceutical and biotech companies and thus speed development of AIDS-combating antiretroviral drugs and vaccines.

One wonders, on one hand, what is wrong with the U.S. drug industry that such facilitation should be necessary and, on the other, whether an AIDS task force can, in fact, do anything that the industry is not already doing. The task force, it seems to me, has better things to do.

In trying to imagine a more appropriate research agenda for the panel, I find myself making three idealistic and naive (and, possibly, incorrect) assumptions:...

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