Turn to page 10 of this issue to view a first-rate Eureka moment, a full-blown YOOOO-REEEEEEE-KAAA epiphany: a photograph of the lab notebook page recording the discovery of the virus now known as HIV.

The document deserves prominent display in a major museum. However, when I contacted author Francoise Barré-Sinoussi to ask for it, the reply was, and I paraphrase, "I should have that somewhere, let me get back to you." Who says that researchers are all egomaniacs?

Since the discovery of HIV, known then as LAV (lymphadenopathy-associated virus), there have been many breakthroughs in understanding HIV pathogenesis and in preventing AIDS. And yet, 20 years on, researchers lack full comprehension of the virus, and treatment remains a precarious business--control rather than cure. The fallout? An ongoing human tragedy and, arguably, a blow to the standing of modern biology, particularly to immunology.

I'll ask the tough question: Has modern immunology,...

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