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Contents 7 Contents Foreword 9 Acknowledgements 11 Introduction 15 A brief excursion into the history of virology and vaccines 16 Chapter I. Leuven: a hotbed for antiviral research 21 The cross-fertilization between academia and pharma 21 Vaccines and celebrity scientists 24 Chapter II. Behind the Iron Curtain 29 The molecular revolution goes east 29 The Academy of Sciences in Prague 34 Chapter III. Strange bedfellows: a Czech chemist and a Flemish virologist 39 Auspicious omens 39 A young prodigy’s path to science 42 Chapter IV. The sixties in Leuven and Prague 47 Antiviral penicillin 47 Spring turns into winter 51 Chapter V. Enzymes: the secret of life as chemistry 55 At Stanford, a new world opens up 55 The Rega Institute cuts corporate ties and goes its own way 58 Chapter VI. From interferon to nucleosides 63 A first encounter with nucleosides 63 A fateful meeting in Göttingen 65 Bringing compounds to life 68 8 Chapter VII. Breaking away from interferon 73 A molecule for all seasons 73 Cloning the interferon gene 75 Chapter VIII. The first antiviral drugs 79 NATO supports a nucleosides network 79 Bringing antiviral therapy to the clinic 82 Chapter IX. Aids emerges in the shadow of the Cold War 85 The East German connection 85 The Cold War heats up 90 Revealing a retrovirus 93 Chapter X. From passivity to action 97 A pivotal year 97 A triangular collaboration is set in motion 101 Launching an aids laboratory in Leuven: the story of d4T 104 Chapter XI. First attempts to halt the epidemic 109 Two irons in the fire: Bristol-Myers and Janssen 109 Taking stock after AZT 112 Holý’s compound is active against HIV 115 Chapter XII. Finding the best therapy: the one-a-day-pill 119 A new start-up: Gilead Sciences 119 The birth of Cidofovir, Tenofovir and Adefovir 122 Epilogue: Of scientists and crusaders 127 Album 132 Notes 151 References 175 Index 181 ...


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