Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 54 (3):304-315 (2011)
In early 1984, the AIDS epidemic was less than four years old. Chemists at the pharmaceutical company Syntex, situated in the rolling green hills near Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, had recently synthesized a new antiviral drug (Martin et al. 1983). The drug, at first given the awkward chemical abbreviation DHPG, later came to be known by the generic name ganciclovir. Ganciclovir was a potent drug for the treatment of herpes virus infection (such as genital herpes or chickenpox), but the unique characteristic of ganciclovir was that it worked against cytomegalovirus (CMV), a heretofore untreatable virus infection. Although relatively harmless in healthy individuals, CMV caused ..
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