Medicine: The Virus Killer

Serendipity is often the researcher's best friend. Thirteen years ago, Dr. Paul Gordon, a professor of microbiology and pharmacology at Chicago Medical School, set out to find a drug that would improve memory and increase learning ability. What he actually found, he reported last week to a Chicago meeting of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, may prove even more valuable—a nontoxic, broad-spectrum agent that works against a wide variety of viruses.

The potential panacea is isoprinosine, a derivative of the chemical inosine found in muscle tissue. In 1958, Gordon began...

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