Federal Bodysnatchers and the New Guinea Virus: People, Parasites, Politics
Twenty Years Ago The World Slept, confident that biomedical science would protect it from devastating plagues. Our wake-up call sounded at the outbreak of the AIDS epidemic. Then came other unfamiliar pathogens in its wake, among them the West Nile virus. Meanwhile, the neglected diseases of the third world, including malaria and African sleeping sickness, festered -- their victims salvageable only by unaffordable, patent-protected drugs. Robert S. Desowitz traces the histories of these diseases and the issues we must confront -- the morality and legality of patent laws covering biomedical "inventions," the effect of global warming on epidemics, the commercial relationships of publicly supported biomedical scientists and industry, and the growing dissociation of clinicians and public health professionals. The resolution of these issues, now under the terrifying shadow of bioterrorism, is essential for the well-being -- possibly even for the ultimate survival -- of the entire human species.
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