Nobel laureate to lead U.S. effort on AIDS vaccine


BETHESDA -- Dr. David Baltimore, a Nobel laureate microbiologist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will lead an effort to revitalize the nation's drive to develop an AIDS vaccine, the National Institutes of Health announced yesterday.

Dr. William Paul, director of the Federal Office of AIDS Research at the institutes, said Baltimore would be the chairman of a committee charged with looking for new ideas for such development, reinvigorating research that after more than a decade has failed to produce an effective immunization against the disease.

"David Baltimore will have a large role in creating a new agenda," Paul said. "We need some creativity, some new ideas, and he will give us this because of who he is and the fact that he wants to do it."

The appointment of Baltimore came in response to a major study of the nation's AIDS research effort. The study, by a panel of 114 leading scientists and others concerned about AIDS, concluded this year that the government's research program, whose annual cost is almost $1.5 billion, lacked focus and needed an overhaul.

That panel, of which Baltimore was a member, said a vaccine research committee headed by a distinguished nongovernment scientist should be created to provide direction and oversight. The group said the National Institutes of Health should establish a new AIDS vaccine program that combines related research conducted at several of the agency's branches.

Pub Date: 12/13/96

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