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HIV and the Fallacy of "Legislating Discovery"

Scientific American recently published a collection of “special report” articles on the general topic of “HIV — 25 Years Later.” From the Editor’s Introduction:

In 1983 and 1984 scientists established that HIV (the human immunodeficiency virus) causes AIDS, which had recently begun cropping up in gay men in California and New York. The discovery quickly led to predictions that a preventive vaccine would soon be on tap. Similarly, in 1996, after powerful drug combinations began forcing HIV down to undetectable levels in the blood, prominent HIV researcher David D. Ho of the Rockefeller University voiced optimism that attacking the virus early and hard could prove curative.

Yet neither a vaccine nor a cure has materialized.

And of course, the medical and scientific research community has also been fighting a “War on Cancer” (a term first coined by Richard Nixon) for more than a decade longer than it has been fighting a “War on HIV.” With only the most modest of victories.

Something to keep in mind when the candidates promise to create (via your tax dollars, of course) new “green” technologies, energy sources, medical breakthroughs, whatever.

On the Absurdity of “Legislating Discovery”
“Legislating Discovery” Pop Quiz
On “Saving” U.S. Science
The “Tang-Teflon-Velcro” Fraud, 2008 Edition
Help the Economy — Get Cancer!
Gasbag Politician Fuels Pork-Powered “Prizes”
There is No Nobel Prize in Rent-Seeking

One Response to “HIV and the Fallacy of "Legislating Discovery"”

  1. To be fair, the utter failure of both efforts to find a "cure" should not overshadow the substantial improvements in treatment that have been achieved. Patients with both diseases can expect to live both better and much longer than used to be the case.

    The extend to which government funding is responsible for either fact is debatable.


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