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Acknowledgements 11 Acknowledgements I am immensely grateful to Erik De Clercq, Professor Emeritus at KU Leuven. His gift of friendship made this book possible. As one of the pioneers in antiviral drugs he patiently coached me through the universe of chemists and virologists. I greatly benefited from his knack of teaching and instinct of keeping co-workers and students alike focused on a common goal. His mantra “Keep your eyes on the prize, we get what we focus on” infected me with the “virus” to dig further and sharpen my questions. His once closest collaborators, Professor Piet Herdewijn, Professor Johan Neyts, Professor Dominique Schols, Dr. Rudi Pauwels founder and CEO of Biocartis, and Professor Emeritus Jan Desmyter helped me understandthescopeoftheaccomplishmentstheyachievedasateam .Professor Emeritus Alfons Billiau imparted precious background knowledge on the origins and workings of the Rega Institute of Medical Research. My special thanks and warm appreciation also to Christiane Callebaut, she was my tireless go-between and precious contact at the Institute. Travels to the Czech Republic, Warsaw, New York, Paris and California opened the doors of Erik De Clercq’s wide network of friends and colleagues . I felt very fortunate to witness the 100th birthday in Warsaw of the late Professor David Shugar. He was one of Erik De Clercq’s first co-workers who introduced him to the world of nucleosides. IamdeeplyindebtedtoProfessorZdenekHavlas,formerDirectorofthe Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry in Prague and Professor Libor Grubhoffer, former President of the University of South Bohemia. They invited me to several key events in the Czech Republic honoring the late Antonín Holý and spared no effort to guide me through the Czech labyrinth . The reminiscences of Dr. Yvan Rosenberg and Dr. Radim Nencka gave me unique insights into Prof. Antonín Holý’s accomplishments. His widow, Ludmila Holá, and his daughter, Dr. Dana Holá, enlightened me on some of his most endearing habits. I very warmly thank both Professor Jan Vilcek and Professor Marc Van Montagu, who gave me lively accounts of the lives of scientists in the former Czechoslovakia. 12 Cold War Triangle I am particularly grateful to Dr. John Martin, Executive Chairman of Gilead Sciences. He was the person who held the key to leading this multi-national, multi-lingual team to success. His band of brothers who were his faithful companions from the very beginning of this venture in Foster City, California, put the pieces of the puzzle in place: Dr. William (Bill) Lee, Dr. Norbert Bischofberger, Dr. Mick Hitchcock, Dr. Swami Swaminathan generously gave me their perspective on how the miracle drugs came into being. My special thanks go to Michael Riordan, the founder of Gilead Sciences and former CEO, who took me back in time to the early days of the company, and to Professor Richard Whitley, Director of the Gilead Board, who graciously recounted the quest to find drugs against viral diseases and the crusades they embarked on to convince the medical community and policymakers. I was very fortunate to meet Dr. Gregg Alton of Gilead Sciences, who made me understand the company’s unique procedures and innovative ways of bringing their drugs to the people most in need, to Africa and beyond. I greatly valued the guidance of Professor Emeritus Peter Piot, Dr. Lori Lehman and Ms. Amy Flood from Gilead sciences, Mrs. Marie-Anne De Somer, Dr. Robert Redfield from the University of Maryland in Baltimore, Dr. Richard Ennis, Frm. Secretary General of the NATO-Assembly Simon Lunn and Ms. Judith Miller. Each helped me find a path through the many angles of this story. A special appreciation is due to Dr. Vladimir Beroun who taught me how to master my electronic devices. Among my cheerleaders, I would like to single out the enthusiastic support from Hugo and Lucie Van Geet as well as Jaroslav Kurfürst, the Ambassador of the Czech Republic in Brussels. I owe a major debt of gratitude to my children, Karen Drozdiak and Nicholas Drozdiak, my line editors, who cheerfully reminded me that English is not my native language. My youngest daughter, Natalia Drozdiak, wrote the booklet The Virus Hunters: Banishing the Scourge of Aids. It became a calling card for the virology department of the Rega Institute. It stimulated the interest and enthusiasm of the editors of Leuven University Press, Veerle De Laet and Viktor Edmonds, who patiently guided me throughout my effort to write on a subject beyond my previous scope of expertise. Acknowledgements 13 The author’s proceeds of this book will be donated...


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