BETHESDA, Md. — Leading researchers are criticizing as irresponsible and premature the announcement by a French medical team that it has successfully battled the AIDS virus with an anti-rejection drug commonly used in organ transplants.
"There's not a scientist I know who'd give something for one week to six patients and make an announcement in the press," said Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, a top AIDS researcher at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda.
French researchers said Tuesday that cyclosporine, a drug used to prevent rejection of transplanted organs, can slow the growth of the AIDS virus and allow the body's crippled immune system to rebuild itself. (Story, Page 21.)
"I think it's absolutely irresponsible what they have done in calling a press conference eight days after treating their first patient with this drug," Dr. Martin Hirsch of Massachusetts General Hospital told the New York Times. "There is no way you can evaluate any drug in such a short period of time and with such a small number of patients."