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December 18, 1991

Virus Hunting, AIDS, Cancer, and the Human Retroviruses: A Story of Scientific Discovery

Author Affiliations

Chicago, Ill

Chicago, Ill

JAMA. 1991;266(23):3351-3352. doi:10.1001/jama.1991.03470230111047

When an eminent scientist, caught up in a major international scientific dispute, writes a book for wider than scientific readership, it may be assumed that he has something to say that goes beyond the parameters of his research. Dr Robert Gallo, discoverer of the first human cancer virus, and at the center of the discovery of the cause of the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), has written a rather strange and interesting book that covers a range of topics and makes fascinating reading on the whole.

Dr Gallo says that "the subject of this is scientific research, not public controversy" and that he "did not write this book to answer his critics...." However, in the body of the text, he has not been able to resist carefully producing his evidence as to the facts of all the major controversies. In the epilogue, in particular, he expresses some of his concerns very