Red Faces In White Coats

The news of Feb. 17 left AIDS researchers and activists baffled. Massachusetts General Hospital announced that a 31-year-old medical student, Yung-Kang Chow, might have found the "Achilles' heel" of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. A unique, three-drug combination had so mangled a key enzyme in HIV that it stopped replicating in a test tube. If the result could be repeated in AIDS patients, that would be big news, since the virus spreads by sending out replicas of itself. But while Chow's results were interesting, they weren't new. Researchers had learned of the experiment at last summer's AIDS conference in Amsterdam.

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