There is a nasty little sideshow to the war against AIDS that has wasted precious talent, time, and lives. And it ought to stop.

Its target is the National Cancer Institute's Robert Gallo, two-time winner of the Albert Lasker Medical Research Award and America's preeminent retrovirologist. For years, this sideshow has been produced mainly by Chicago Tribune reporter John Crewdson. Recently ABC-TV's Sam Donaldson got into the act on "PrimeTime Live," making his strident contribution to the tasteless assault.

The vilification of Gallo is bitterly ironic, since it is his team--by pushing ahead with the development of a practical HIV blood test--that has saved thousands of people from contracting AIDS through blood transfusions or blood products. While it is true that Pasteur Institute scientists made a key contribution, the HIV blood test--if left to them--would have been delayed by six months or so.

Both Donaldson and Crewdson, hot on the...

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