Medicine: Cornering the Killer

At 8 a.m., a stocky, short-legged man with a brush of steel-grey hair rises from a big breakfast at his Georgian-style house, shoehorns himself into a midget Triumph estate wagon, and drives a couple of miles to the rolling campus of the National Institutes of Health at Bethesda, Md. Parking his small car in the No. 1 reserved spot, Dr. John Roderick Heller Jr. enters an unimpressive building labeled T-19.

Planned to house dogs used in research, the one-story structure is the temporary command post from which Dr. Heller leads the major part of...

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