|Office of NIH History|
Dr. Robert Yarchoan
I think a good number of people who were working in fields where their expertise could be turned to AIDS did it, and often they did it without getting extra money for it or because someone told them to do it. They did it because of the combination of reasons you do science–because you can help people, because opportunities exist to contribute something, and for a number of other reasons.
I think the irony is that I have heard the NIH also being critiqued for too many people working on AIDS in those days. So it seems that whatever we do, we get some criticism. But I do believe that if there are interesting scientific puzzles, a number of people will work on them if they have the tools to work on them; and that discovering the virus made the disease much more amenable to scientific work.
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