Medicine: The Toughest Virus of All

Can a drug or vaccine be found to vanquish AIDS?

Of all the viruses that have plagued human beings through the ages, few have cast darker shadows or proved more formidable than the one that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. The current AIDS death toll of 15,000 in the U.S. seems small compared with some of the scourges of old. But no cure or vaccine is in sight, and the figure is expected to rise to nearly 180,000 in five years. By that time, predicts U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, 145,000 Americans with AIDS will need health and other services costing between $8 billion and $16 billion annually.

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