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VIRAL HIT JOB

FROM NEW YORK CITY TO CAPE TOWN, THE AIDS VIRUS HAS RAVAGED THE WORLD. BUT LOUIS PICKER THINKS HE FINALLY FOUND A SOLUTION. IT INVOLVES HERPES

LOUIS PICKER STOMPED THROUGH THE HOUSE, GROWLED AT HIS DOGS, THEN SLUMPED DOWN AT THE BOTTOM OF THE STAIRCASE, DEJECTED. “I CAN’T DO IT ANYMORE,” THE IMMUNOLOGIST TOLD HIS WIFE.

“Yes, you can,” she said.

“It’s not going to work,” he said.

“It’s going to work,” she replied. “It’s going to work.”

Picker has had this conversation with his wife, Belinda Beresford, several times, because after 30 years of immunology research, the 59-year-old is on the verge of launching human trials for a vaccine that could stop AIDS, an epidemic that has become something of an afterthought decades after it began ravaging gay men in America. For many in the developed world, complacency has set in, largely thanks to a regimen of antiretroviral drugs that allow people with HIV to live long and healthy lives, and decades of failed attempts to develop a vaccine. Much of Picker’s work now involves fighting for grant money in a dwindling pot of research funds to keep his laboratory at Oregon Health & Science University running. To win those grants, he must continually prove that his unorthodox approach to creating a vaccine is probably going to work, which means that he needs a string of victories in the laboratory. “Science has its ups and downs,” he says. “You only get rewarded for the ups.”

MARCH OF THE LIVING: Decades after it began ravaging gay men in America, AIDS has become something of an afterthought in the developing world. A major reason: drugs that allow people with HIV to live long and healthy lives.
GREG SMITH/CORBIS/GETTY; PREVIOUS SPREAD: TONY BEE/GETTY
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LE FRONT TRUMP: EUROPE COULD BE NEXT If the National Front’s Marine Le Pen wins the French presidential election in May, the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council would be led by Trump, Le Pen, Russia’s Vladimir Putin, China’s Xi Jinping and Britain’s Theresa May, who is ushering the U.K. out of the EU (even though she campaigned, tepidly, for it to remain). With the possible exception of May, none seem thrilled about how the world has worked since the end of the Cold War.
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