TAG at 10: The Year 1996
: NYC: Biggest blizzard since 1947.
Jan 18: Baltimore activist Garey Lambert dies of AIDS; Lynda Dee is there.
Jan 25: Spencer Cox at meeting with FDA Commissioner David Kessler in Rockville on protease inhibitors.
Jan 31: Mark Harrington resigns from Retrovirus Conference Steering Committee due to closed meeting policy.
Feb 1: Retrovirus: Ritonavir presentation by Abbott. They found a 50 percent reduction in progression plus death at six months. Spencer in tears.
Feb 12: Gregg Gonsalves starts Agouron protease inhibitor (later nelfinavir)/AZT/3TC in ADARC study.
Feb 20: Abbott meeting, Chicago. Guess what: ritonavir is more toxic than anticipated! "The syrup tasted nasty. The capsules will be OK."
Feb 27: Levine Committee (NIH AIDS Research Program Evaluation Working Group) report finalized. Mark writes intro.
Feb 29: FDA ritonavir hearing: Spencer's on the Antiviral Drug Advisory Committee (AVDAC)!
Mar 1: FDA approves ritonavir (Norvir) in just one day! FDA AVDAC hearing on Merck's indinavir (Crixivan). Also a hearing on Serono's rHGH (Serostim) for wasting syndrome. TAG's Lynda Dee is on the Crixivan panel; Tim Horn speaks at the rHGH hearing.
Mar 13: FDA grants accelerated approval for indinavir. OARAC ratifies the ARPEWG (Levine Committee) report! Laurie Garrett covers the report in Newsday.
Mar 14: Larry Altman covers the Levine Committee report in The New York Times. Harold Varmus endorses it at NIH.
Mar 29: Mark Harrington gives talk at "Acting on AIDS" conference, London: "A Revisionist History of AIDS Treatment Activism" (later published in Acting on AIDS, Serpent's Tail 1997.
Apr 8: FDA approves DaunoXome (daunorubicin liposome injection) for treatment of advanced Kaposi's sarcoma.
Jun 3: FDA approves Roche's Amplicor brand RT-PCR test for HIV RNA.
Jun 9: Mark Harrington, Michael Marco, Tim Horn edit TAG's Wasting Report.
Jun 12: FDA approves Pfizer's azithromycin (Zithromax) for MAC prophylaxis.
Jun 13: NIH mark-up goes poorly (Pelosi amendment goes down on a party-line vote).
Jun 14: Wall Street Journal cover story on protease inhibitors.
Jun 24: Mathilde Krim reception for OAR Director Bill Paul. Nature comes out with two blockbuster papers on CC-CKR-5, HIV's hitherto elusive second receptor.
Jun 26: FDA approves Gilead's cidofovir (Vistide) for IV treatment of CMV retinitis.
Jun 30: NYC Gay Pride. The Economist cover story: "A Solution for AIDS?"
Jul 2: Mark Harrington's T cells have dropped from 320 to 152; viral load is 196,000.
Jul 8: XI International AIDS Conference, Vancouver. amfAR reception, Vancouver Art Gallery: Liz Taylor appears! Gonsalves confronts Fauci over NIAID's canceling of CHIPS [Correlates of Human Immune Protection Studies] contract to Ho, Steve Wolinsky et al. Harrington confronts Shalala over needle exchange. "We'll fix it after the election!" she says.
Jul 9: Vancouver: John Moore vs. Edward Mbidde debate on vaccine studies now or later.
Jul 10: John Mellors presents famous MACS data on viral load.
Jul 11: David Ho vs. Giuseppe Pantaleo debate on mechanisms of CD4 depletion. Last afternoon's presentations including amazing, fascinating Bill Cameron (Abbott study), Trip Gulick (Merck 033), David Ho and Marty Markowitz (several ADARC studies) presentations on how triple combination therapy can reduce HIV viral load below 25 copies/mm3.
Jul 30: TAG meeting with David Ho, Marty Markowitz at PWAC offices on West 17th Street. It's jammed. (Later written up by A. Sullivan for The New York Times Magazine: "When Plagues End.")
Jul 31: Bill Clinton signs welfare reform bill to win re-election.
Aug 6: Mark's second lymph node biopsy performed at NIH clinical center.
Aug 7: In NYC, Peter Staley starts 3TC/d4T/Crixivan. In Bethesda, so does Mark Harrington.
Aug 9: CC-CKR5 paper in Cell on exposed uninfected from ADARC (Richard Koup /Nat Landau).
Aug 17: Mark Harrington finishes report on Vancouver meeting, "Viral Load in Vancouver."
Aug 22: David Baltimore considers running the HIV vaccine program (if only he had). John Coffin considers taking over the NCI Retrovirology Center (he does). Jim Curran will run the new OAR Prevention Sciences Working Group.
Aug 23: FDA approves Serono's rHGH (Serostim) for wasting and cachexia.
Sep 16-18: ICAAC in New Orleans.
Sep 29: Spencer's viral load is virtually back to baseline, 400,000, seven months after starting ritonavir and two months after switching to indinavir. Is this a harbinger of our future?
Oct 1: After a budget compromise, OAR does better than expected.
Oct 6-9: Meeting of NATAF (National AIDS Treatment Activists Forum) in D.C.
Sep 21: Tae-Wook Chun (then of Bob Siliciano's lab at Hopkins, later at NIAID) lectures at ADARC on cellular latency of integrated HIV provirus in resting T cells. This prefigures the end of eradication theory.
Sep 23: Meet Mike Saag to talk about the START protocol ("Strategic Timing of ART," ACTG 355). This study would be labeled "overly ambitious" by the ACTG and withdrawn in March '97. The ACTG will never do a "when to start" study.
Sep 29-30: OARAC meeting on implementing Levine Committee Report.
Sep 30: NIH: OAR panel on Principles of HIV Therapy.
Nov 5: Bill Clinton beats Bob Dole.
Nov 12: TAG benefit at Marvin Shulman's 5th Avenue loft.
Nov 13-14: NIH Principles panel: depressing resistance data. Post-Vancouver bubble pops. Resistance is a one-way street; the virus is "genetically unforgiving."
Nov 17: Ashley Haase cover story in Science.
Nov 22: Spencer back from FDA hearing on delavirdine (unusually, the AVDAC tied, 4-4. TAG was ambivalent as well).
Dec 2: Public Health Service (PHS) panel on Clinical Practice Guidelines for HIV. Spencer and Mark are on it.
Dec 3: amfAR honors TAG at World AIDS Day, giving Peter Staley a silver plate.
Dec 12: David Baltimore appointed head of AIDS Vaccine Research Committee (AVRC).
Dec 16: OAR Panel to Define Principles of HIV Therapy meeting, Bethesda. The usual arguments about who should start and when, though now they're couched as who shouldn't start and why not?
Dec 17: Cover story in Newsday "The Curse of the 'Cure'" by Laurie Garrett, with Spencer and Mark on the cover (a tale of two TAGlings. Which one has resistance?). Also a Wall Street Journal cover story on D.D. Ho.
Charlie Franchino resigns as TAG board President. Succeeded by Barbara Hughes.
This article was provided by Treatment Action Group. It is a part of the publication TAGline.