TAG at Ten: The Year 1997
Jan 20: Bill Clinton's second inaugural. Michael Marco and Mark Harrington finish initial draft of OI Report.
Jan 22: Crisis at Retrovirus re: on-site registration for Linda Grinberg and sixteen other unregistered community members.
They are not allowed in. (Relations with Chip and Connie will never recover.)
Community makes a surprising show of unity, opposing promiscuously early use of antiretrovirals. Fight with John Mellors regarding recommendations for asymptomatic HIV infection.
Jan 27: AIDS deaths down 50% in New York for 1996, and down 66% in British Columbia (where they have a province-wide standard-of-care). In Marty Hirsch's Merck 039 study of people with under 50 CD4 cells, 65% of those randomized to AZT/3TC/indinavir went undetectable; their T cells rose by 85.
Feb 15: TAG board decides to move away from membership structure and towards one of a more traditional CBO.
Feb 20: DSMB stops ACTG 320 (AZT/3TC/indinavir vs. AZT/3TC) early due to a mortality/progression difference.
Mar 14: FDA approves Agouron's nelfinavir (Viracept) for adults and children.
Mar 19: Memorial service for activist Tom Stoddard at the Ethical Culture Society in NYC.
Mar 20: 10th anniversary of FDA approval of AZT.
Mar 24: 10th anniversary of ACT UP/New York's first big demo, Wall Street, NYC.
Apr 18: After eight months of d4T/3TC/indinavir, MH's viral load has gone from 196,000 to <400; his CD4s from 152 to 617.
May 1: In the United Kingdom, Tony Blair's New Labor ejects the Tories after 18 years.
May 8: New draft HHS Guidelines virtually propose putting triple therapy in the drinking water.
New papers in Science and Nature by Ashley Haase, David Ho, Bob Siliciano on viral kinetics and reservoirs.
May 9: Mark drafts memo to HHS about the fucked-up treatment guidelines. Talks to Fauci about same. Tries to make his physician's conscience appear. (It doesn't; he keeps his political mask on.)
May 14: Roche meeting, NYC: Yell at them re: Why it took five years to find a potent dose of saquinavir.
May 18: President Clinton says, "Today, let us commit ourselves to developing an AIDS vaccine within the next decade."
Being Clinton, of course, he hedges, "There are no guarantees ..."
Jun 3: Peter Staley's departure from TAG staff.
Jun 4: TAG demo against the American Heart Association over its "disease vs. disease" NIH budget lobbying.
Jun 7: Mark writes "Cynical Swiss Saquinavir Scam" about Roche's promulgation of subtherapeutic saquinavir formula.
Jun 11: FDA reports protease inhibitors may cause diabetes. Maybe AIDS is not only becoming a "chronic, manageable disease -- like diabetes," but actually becoming diabetes!
Jun 12: Mark receives MacArthur Foundation Fellowship for his AIDS work.
Aug 4: FDA approves Bristol-Myers' paclitaxel (Taxol) for second-line treatment of Kaposi's sarcoma.
Sep 6: Funeral for Princess Diana, London.
Sep 7-8: European HIV meeting, Istanbul. Ashley Haase presents new data showing impressive CD4 cell reconstitution in the lymphoid tissue after six months of triple therapy. Doug Richman confides portentously, and not without a trace of Schadenfreude, the death of the eradication hypothesis: three papers are in press at Science on the topic.
Sep 28: ICAAC, Toronto. Bob Siliciano demonstrates the failure of latently infected CD4 cells to decay post-HAART.
Lots of posters on what later becomes known as lipodystrophy.
Oct 1: Bill Paul announces his resignation as OAR Director.
Nov 7: FDA approves Roche's "new, improved" saquinavir formulation, Fortovase.
Nov 13: Science and Nature publish articles on HIV persistence in latently infected CD4 cells.
Dec 8: HHS Guidelines panel considers and then rejects delavirdine (Rescriptor) and saquinavir (Fortovase) for first-line therapy.
Dec 29: Mark invited to deliver "shared plenary" at 1998 AIDS Conference on "Cure: Myth or Reality?" with Robert Siliciano.
This article was provided by Treatment Action Group. It is a part of the publication TAGline.