An Old New Drug for AIDS

The notorious sedative thalidomide may give doctors another weapon to fight a modern plague

Thalidomide has long been synonymous with tragedy. In the early 1960s, thousands of European women who took the sedative during pregnancy gave birth to children with no arms or legs, and only the vigilance of the Food and Drug Administration prevented a similar disaster in the U.S. But the old drug that once brought despair may one day generate hope for the victims of a modern plague. In an experiment that began in 1992, researchers at Rockefeller University are testing the possibility that thalidomide can fight the ravages of AIDS.

Encouraged by laboratory results suggesting that the drug could suppress the...

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