Office of NIH History  
In Their Own Words: NIH Researchers Recall the Early Years of AIDS
 
Audio Transcript
Dr. John I. Gallin
 
   
 
The other thing that was going on in parallel, which was also very important and which you touched upon, was Projet SIDA in Zaire. That was a unique interaction among a number of agencies in the government: the CDC, the NIAID, and later Walter Reed [Army Medical Center]. It was actually international. People from Belgium played a major role in it and also some people from Germany. The Germans set up a modern blood banking facility in Kinshasa in Zaire, which I have visited. Kinshasa is a third or fourth world setting. It is very primitive. The people from Belgium had set up an infrastructure for interacting with the health care delivery system that existed in Zaire. But it was the CDC and their people, together with NIAID, that set up a modern investigative research effort in this environment. Drs. Thomas Quinn and Skip [Henry L.] Francis, working with Ms. MaryAnn Guerra, played a major role setting up the NIAID research component at Projet SIDA. It was amazing to me how all the events related to AIDS that occurred in Africa turned out to be an incredible predictor of what was going to happen in the United States. It was sort of a preview as to what was going to happen here with us. You could look over there and say, “We know that in the next four or five years we are going to have this problem,” and it happened.
 
     
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