WASHINGTON--Two years ago Soviet officials were in the midst of a vigorous international campaign of disinformation about the U.S. Army's supposed role in the spread of AIDS. This week top officials from the American and Soviet national academies of science and medicine are scheduled to meet in Moscow to discuss cooperative scientific ventures between the two countries, including possible collaboration on immunological and vaccine research that could help in the fight against AIDS.

It is too early to tell whether that Soviet reversal is a result of party leader Mikhail Gorbachev's policy of glasnost or simply the latest example of competing factions at work within the state bureaucracy. Observers caution that, even in the glow of last month's summit meeting, those Soviet leaders seeking closer scientific ties with the West have yet to demonstrate that they have won over the rest of the government.

But regardless of the ultimate fate...

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