The problems of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection require legions of researchers and an urgency that relies on teamwork, creative thinking, and previous studies. The Scientist went behind the scenes of two unrelated HIV papers that appeared in the January 2000 issue of Journal of Virology to find out what tweaked the researchers' imaginations and led to intriguing results.

The papers lay at opposite ends of the HIV spectrum. One looked at T-cell responses in infected children; the other reported on a molecule designed to be biochemically stable and, ostensibly, to stimulate immune responses as part of a vaccine. Both papers come out of laboratories at Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center in New York.

Douglas Nixon, the senior researcher in the T-cell study,1 says that the inspiration was a study on mice by Rafi Ahmed and colleagues2 at Emory University in Atlanta, published in late 1998. Ahmed...

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