Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

Cold War Triangle

How Scientists in East and West Tamed HIV

Renilde Loeckx (Author),

Category: General Science, History, History 1800-present, Science Engineering and Technology

Language: English

ISBN: 9789462701137

Publication date: September 13, 2017

€21.50 (including 6% VAT)

Buy Now

Number of pages: 192

Size: 234 x 156 x mm

Number of illustrations: 18

Illustrations and other content description:
b&w illustrations

Stock item: 117790

Standard delivery time for print books:

For Belgium: 5 to 8 working days

For EU: 2 to 3 weeks

For other countries: 4 to 5 weeks

Category: General Science, History, History 1800-present, Science Engineering and Technology

Language: English

DOI: 10.11116/9789461663979

ISBN: 9789461663979

Publication date: March 23, 2021

Download Free PDF

Number of pages: 192

Number of illustrations: 18

Illustrations and other content description:
b&w illustrations

Stock item: 117790


The extraordinary story of scientists in East and West combatting HIV

A small group of scientists were doggedly working in the field of antiviral treatments when the AIDS epidemic struck. Faced with one of the grand challenges of modern biology of the twentieth century, scientists worked across the political divide of the Cold War to produce a new class of antivirals. Their molecules were developed by a Californian start-up together with teams of scientists at the Rega Institute of KU Leuven and the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry (IOCB) of the Academy of Sciences in Prague. These molecules became the cornerstone of the blockbuster drugs now used to combat and prevent HIV. Cold War Triangle gives an insight into the human face of science as it recounts the extraordinary story of scientists in East and West who overcame ideological barriers and worked together for the benefit of humanity.

Read more on the book’s dedicated website:

Foreword Acknowledgements
Introduction A brief excursion into the history of virology and vaccines
Chapter I. Leuven: a hotbed for antiviral research The cross-fertilization between academia and pharma Vaccines and celebrity scientists
Chapter II. Behind the Iron Curtain The molecular revolution goes east The Academy of Sciences in Prague
Chapter III. Strange bedfellows: a Czech chemist and a Flemish virologist Auspicious omens A young prodigy’s path to science
Chapter IV. The sixties in Leuven and Prague Antiviral penicillin Spring turns into winter
Chapter V. Enzymes: the secret of life as chemistry At Stanford, a new world opens up The Rega Institute cuts corporate ties and goes its own way
Chapter VI. From interferon to nucleosides A first encounter with nucleosides A fateful meeting in Göttingen Bringing compounds to life Chapter VII. Breaking away from interferon A molecule for all seasons Cloning the interferon gene
Chapter VIII. The first antiviral drugs NA TO supports a nucleosides network Bringing antiviral therapy to the clinic
Chapter IX. Aids emerges in the shadow of the Cold War The East German connection The Cold War heats up Revealing a retrovirus
Chapter X. From passivity to action A pivotal year A triangular collaboration is set in motion Launching an aids laboratory in Leuven: the story of d4T
Chapter XI. First attempts to halt the epidemic Two irons in the fire: Bristol-Myers and Janssen Taking stock after AZT Holý’s compound is active against HIV
Chapter XII. Finding the best therapy: the one-a-day-pill A new start-up: Gilead Sciences The birth of Cidofovir, Tenofovir and Adefovir
Epilogue: Of scientists and crusaders
Album Notes References Index

Renilde Loeckx

Renilde Loeckx is former Ambassador of Belgium.

High praise from a Nobel laureate
"I got to know a number of the scientists mentioned in the book and have read it with great interest. It gives an excellent account of an unfolding story of scientific, political and social interest. "
Prof. Jean-Marie Lehn. University of Strasbourg, France. Nobel Laureate in Chemistry.

Accolade from a scientist-entrepreneur
"As a scientist in the seventies I had first hand experience on the hurdles of crossing political borders in advancing human knowledge. The book captures not only this intriguing story of scientists and entrepreneurs, but also evokes the quest for a deeper understanding of microbiology." Dr. Jos B. Peeters. CEO Capricorn Venture Partners.

Rave review from Belgium’s former Minister of Foreign Affairs and EU Trade Commissioner“Ambassador Loeckx tells with passion and vigor
the story of one of the great breakthroughs in medicine: the containment of HIV
that has saved millions of lives. It’s also a great story about the very nature
of humanity: how cooperation among great minds from different horizons and
disciplines transcended the Wall that once divided Europe.”
Karel De Gucht served as European
Commissioner for Trade from 2010 to 2014 after being European Commissioner for
International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response. He was Belgium’s Minister of Foreign Affairs
from 2004 to 2009.

Glowing remarks from a science writer"Your book was on top of my summer reading pile and yes, it is great! It reads like a detective novel and I am amazed how much science I learned from it, having both an MD and a PhD degree in chemistry. Also, all the familiar names, Brachet, de Duve, Van Montagu...It was a real treat to be reminded of such fascinating scientists that I had met. Like a trip back in time when I accompanied Donny on meetings all over the world. Thanks a lot for such a great work!"Eliane Strosberg, MD, PhD in Chemistry, Author of “ART and SCIENCE“ and “The Human Figure and Jewish Culture”

The book tells a fascinating story and gives a glimpse into the making of scientific discoveries, the rush for patents in research, and collaborative work during hostile political situations. It is mostly an enjoyable read, albeit skewed towards Western protagonists, and will surely enrich our understanding of the multitude of actors involved in HIV research and global scientific production.Dora Vargha, H-Diplo, H-Net Reviews. February, 2019,

Enthusiastic Endorsement from NATO's Secretary General“I found the book explosively fascinating. The way it takes us through the labyrinth of Cold War virus research was riveting. It was like some real-life thriller as each discovery is made and each breakthrough announced.”
Lord Robertson, Former British Defense Minister and Secretary General of NATO (1999- 2004)

'Cold War Triangle' provides an insightful description about some of the most important medical discoveries in recent history. It is a story of substance, and one that sheds light on the complexity of scientific discovery in an ever-changing political environment.David Kinkela, Diplomatic History, Volume 43, Issue 3, June 2019, Pages 592–594,

Wenngleich sich die Autorin einer interessanten, der breiten Öffentlichkeit vermutlich unbekannten Personenkonstellation und deren pharmazeutischen Errungenschaften zuwendet, erscheint ihre Publikation aus geschichtswissenschaftlicher Sicht kritikwürdig.

Henning Tümmers, Historische Zeitschrift // BAND 313 / 2021, DOI 10.1515/hzhz-2021-1450

Related titles