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What can AZT tell us about drug development in the early AIDS epidemic? | Archives Talk

What can AZT tell us about drug development in the early AIDS epidemic? | Archives Talk Online

AZT (azidothymidine; generic name: zidovudine; trade name: Retrovir) set a new direction for research on drug treatments for HIV infection and AIDS in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It was the first antiretroviral to gain FDA approval. It was at the center of debates on the use of placebos in clinical trials of AIDS drugs. Discussions surrounding AZT led to formal codification of rules governing patient access to experimental drugs. From 1987 to 1994 AZT was the subject of numerous clinical trials, and remained the first-line drug in treatment of HIV infection even as doubts about its therapeutic value increased.

In this talk historian John Lesch will briefly survey AZT’s research origins, its role in expanding patient access to experimental drugs, and its trajectory as monotherapy. He will conclude by suggesting ways in which the AZT story highlights more general features of drug development in the early AIDS epidemic.

John Lesch is a historian of science and medicine, with a special interest in pharmaceuticals and the connections between academic, government, and industrial research. His publications include The First Miracle Drugs: How the Sulfa Drugs Transformed Medicine. He is professor emeritus of history, University of California, Berkeley.

This event is brought to you by the UCSF Library Archives & Special Collections.

Archives Talks are free and open to the public.

Wednesday, Apr 27 2022
12:00pm - 1:10pm
Time Zone:
Pacific Time - US & Canada (change)
This is an online event. Event URL will be sent via registration email.
  Archives and Special Collections     ZSFG  
Registration has closed.

Event Organizer

Profile photo of Polina Ilieva
Polina Ilieva

Associate University Librarian for Collections

UCSF Archivist