From a review in the FT of Steve Silberman, of what sounds like a book for our time, ‘How to survive a plague’, by David France.
“Jesse Helms, the five-term Republican senator from North Carolina, personally blocked spending on Aids prevention, treatment or research for years, pontificating from the Senate floor, “We’ve got to call a spade a spade, and a perverted human being a perverted human being.”
“Some of the most haunting passages in the book record twists of fate that delayed effective prevention and treatments for years. A young chemist at Merck who suspected early on that a class of drugs called protease inhibitors might yield promising avenues for research was killed on Pan Am Flight 103, downed by Libyan terrorists over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988. Years passed before other researchers went down that road again, discovering a drug that became a template for the “cocktails” that have turned HIV infection into a manageable chronic illness rather than a certain death sentence.”