How AIDS Has Changed The Nature Of Research

In his best-selling expose, And the Band Played On (New York, St. Martin's Press, 1987), San Francisco Chronicle reporter Randy Shilts documented how AIDS was largely ignored by the research and funding communities until the disease reached crisis proportions. Today, however, AIDS has become a glamorous field of investigation. Because the United States research establishment has become convinced that proceeding at an accelerated pace might help save lives, the processes of proposal review and d

Barbara Spector
Mar 1, 1992
In his best-selling expose, And the Band Played On (New York, St. Martin's Press, 1987), San Francisco Chronicle reporter Randy Shilts documented how AIDS was largely ignored by the research and funding communities until the disease reached crisis proportions. Today, however, AIDS has become a glamorous field of investigation. Because the United States research establishment has become convinced that proceeding at an accelerated pace might help save lives, the processes of proposal review and drug approval have been speeded up for AIDS-related studies.

James Weinrich, an assistant adjunct professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego, says it is now common knowledge that "if your research can be shown to be AIDS-related, funding can be obtained more easily." Thus, he says, researchers are "recasting pre-existing grant [applications] or moving in an AIDS direction" in an attempt to use the speedup to their best advantage.

While fields like immunology...

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