Time Profiles NIAID Director Anthony Fauci
The Aug. 20 edition of Time magazine profiles Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a "tireless champion" of HIV/AIDS research, in its "America's Best" in science in medicine cover story. At the helm of NIAID since 1984, Fauci was in 1988 "singled out for attack" by AIDS activists who were upset with the "glacial pace of government research, drug testing and drug approval." Responding to the criticism, Fauci became "one of the leading advocates of AIDS causes" almost "overnight," Time reports. Fauci, who turned down the opportunity to head NIH in 1989 because he was "too involved -- professionally and personally -- in tackling the AIDS epidemic," lobbied the FDA to increase access to AIDS medications and set up "speedier protocols" for the testing of new AIDS drugs and helped design and oversee several large-scale clinical trials of AIDS medications. He also travels the world to talk about HIV/AIDS and continues to publish myriad scientific papers on the disease. Due "in no small part" to his efforts, American AIDS-related deaths decreased from 50,610 in 1995 to 16,273 in 1999. Fauci remains committed to fighting the "impending catastrophe internationally" by working toward a "safe and effective" HIV vaccine (Jaroff/Moffett, Time, 8/20).
Ho's Quest for New AIDS Drugs
In an accompanying piece, Alice Park, who served on the panel that named Dr. David Ho Time's 1996 Man of the Year, makes her case for the inclusion of the AIDS researcher on Time's list of revolutionary doctors. Ho is one of the "few scientists" that "still champion[s] the idea that sufficiently potent antivirals, given in the right combination at the right time, may eliminate HIV and -- just possibly -- even cure AIDS." While this idea is "surprisingly controversial," Ho continues to work toward a solution using a "relatively simple" math equation that shows that he may be able to "shrink the [viral] reservoir faster" with a four-drug regimen that is 20% "more potent" than today's drug combinations (Park, Time, 8/20).