So They Say

"When there is a fire, you don't check to see if the water has calcium in it," says French researcher Daniel Zagury. "You just throw it on the fire." The fire this time is AIDS, which now infects an estimated five million to 10 million people world-wide, including as much as a quarter of the young adults in some African cities. But Dr. Zagury's firefighting methods have ignited a furor be-cause he used himself as an experimental animal to test an experimental AIDS vaccine. In so doing, he brea

The Scientist Staff
Jun 28, 1987
"When there is a fire, you don't check to see if the water has calcium in it," says French researcher Daniel Zagury. "You just throw it on the fire."

The fire this time is AIDS, which now infects an estimated five million to 10 million people world-wide, including as much as a quarter of the young adults in some African cities.

But Dr. Zagury's firefighting methods have ignited a furor be-cause he used himself as an experimental animal to test an experimental AIDS vaccine. In so doing, he breached scientific rules calling for prior published animal testing—usually in a peer-review journal. He also challenged ethical and safety traditions that discourage self-experimentation.

[Zagury's action] shows clearly the schism among AIDS researchers—between those who believe the highest good lies in delivering scientifically impeccable studies and those who pursue empathy and compassion as healing tools, identifying strongly with their patients. Says one senior...

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