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The Harold Varmus Papers

Letter from Peter W. A. Mansell, M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, University of Texas to Harold Varmus pdf (78,331 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Letter from Peter W. A. Mansell, M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, University of Texas to Harold Varmus
Number of Image Pages:
2 (78,331 Bytes)
1985-08-20 (August 20, 1985)
Mansell, Peter W. A.
University of Texas. M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
Varmus, Harold
Original Repository: University of California, San Francisco. Archives and Special Collections. Harold E. Varmus Papers
Reproduced with permission of the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
Terminology as Topic
Acquired Hyperostosis Syndrome
Exhibit Category:
AIDS and HIV: Science, Politics, and Controversy, 1981-1993
Box Number: 2
Folder Number: 14
Unique Identifier:
Document Type:
Letters (correspondence)
Physical Condition:
Series: UCSF Collections
SubSeries: Collection Number MSS 88-47
SubSubSeries: Human Retrovirus Study Group, 1981-1987
Folder: HIV clinical opinions on the naming of the virus, 1985
August 20, 1985
Dear Dr. Varmus:
Thank you for your letter. Clearly the virus should not be called HTLV-III, LAV, or ARV, firstly because it has no relationship to HTLV-I or II and secondly, because the internecine strife connected with the French vs. American virus should be avoided in future if possible. I do not myself see any way of avoiding associating the virus with AIDS and simply to change the name, for instance, to "XYZ virus" really does not help since the clinician will then have to explain what that particular virus causes. Though the level of public hysteria associated with AIDS is extremely high at present, I think that unfortunately as everyone becomes more familiar with the disease this will tend to diminish and therefore there probably is a great deal to be said for calling the virus exactly what it is. I am not sure that there is anything to be gained by giving it the prefix "human" since there seems to be evidence that a disease very akin to AIDS at least can be caused by the virus in higher primates and that the virus may have originated in the African green monkey. I would myself be in favor of something short and fairly explicit such as AIDS associated virus or simply AIDS virus since I believe that there is no way of wrapping the unpleasant truth up in words. One might as well be honest with people from the outset.
Thank you for asking me to give you my views on this. I should be interested to know what the final result of your deliberations is.
With best wishes.
Yours sincerely,
Peter W. A. Mansell, M.D.
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