In the early 1950s, when Jonas Salk produced the first inactivated polio vaccine and Albert Sabin later produced a live, attenuated, oral polio vaccine, the individual researchers' names were permanently linked to the products. But development of an HIV vaccine--a task President Bill Clinton has charged researchers to accomplish by 2007--requires the skills of so many scientists and so many laboratories worldwide that it would be impossible, and perhaps even improper, to link any vaccine to one person's name.

"It's a pretty collaborative field these days; it's not as fractious as I heard it used to be," says Robert W. Doms , associate professor in the department of pathology and laboratory medicine at University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Doms and others interviewed for this story describe the research community as very cooperative. "We are all standing on each others' shoulders and supporting each other," states Margaret Liu, vice...

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