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Jerome Horwitz: 5 Surprising Facts About the Inventor of AZT
Posted By Patrick Kiger On September 21, 2012 @ 4:51 pm In Legacy | Comments Disabled
It wasn’t that long ago – 1987, to be precise – that U.S. Surgeon General Everett Koop predicted the HIV/AIDS epidemic would kill 100 million people by the year 2000. That didn’t happen. Instead, about 34 million people are living with HIV, according to AVERT, an international health organization, and a 2006 study published in the British medical journal QJM found that patients who are diagnosed as HIV-positive before developing full-blown AIDS now have an average life expectancy of 21.5 years. Once, the public faces of HIV were dead movie stars, artists and musicians; today, it’s pro basketball great Earvin “Magic” Johnson, who by all accounts is still in excellent health, two decades after his diagnosis.
Who do we have to thank for this startling turnabout? Medical researcher Jerome P. Horwitz, who back in 1964 discovered AZT, a medication that prevents HIV from replicating and lowers the amount of the virus in the bloodstream. Combined with other medications, AZT has helped turn HIV from an automatic death sentence into what in many cases is a manageable condition.
Here are five surprising facts about Horwitz, who died Sept. 6 at age 93 in Bloomfield Township, Mich.
Here’s a video explaining how AZT works.
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