DAVID HO Biography - Famous Medicine & health care related men and women


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David Ho Date of birth: November 3, 1952                                                 
David Ho was born Ho Da-i in the small city of Tai Chung, on the island of               
Taiwan. His father, who had served as a translator for U.S. troops in China             
during World War II, left David, his mother, and a younger brother behind to             
pursue graduate engineering studies in the United States. When Mr. Ho sent for           
his family, he chose new American names from the Bible, and Ho Da-i became David         
Ho. David and his brother arrived in the new land unable to speak English. Their         
father had insisted that they postpone learning the language until they came to         
America, so they would learn to speak with as little Chinese accent as possible.         
The family initially settled in a largely black neighborhood in central Los             
Angeles, near the University of Southern California, where Mr. Ho was completing         
his master's degree. David spent his first months of school in frustrated               
bewilderment, unable to follow lessons in the unfamiliar language. He was               
ridiculed by his classmates for his inability to speak or understand, but within         
six months he had made progress in the language, and graduated with honors.             
After high school he attended both MIT and Cal Tech as a physics major, but he           
soon decided molecular biology was most exciting field in modern science. He won         
a scholarship to Harvard Medical School and, as resident at UCLA Medical Center,         
saw some of the first documented cases of AIDS. He dedicated himself to                 
combating the mysterious killer.                                                         
After the virus was identified, most researchers believed that the disease               
entered a dormant phase after the initial infection, since most patients did not         
become seriously ill until months or years after the first exposure. Dr. Ho's           
research proved that the virus actually multiplies in vast numbers from the very         
beginning, while the immune system exhausts itself fighting the virus. Armed             
with this discovery, Dr. Ho shifted attention from treatment of the final losing         
months of the disease and sought a way to fight the virus in the first stages of         
the infection. He devised the "cocktails" of protease inhibitors and other               
antiviral drugs which have brought about remarkable recoveries in may cases. It         
is hoped that continued use of these therapies may eliminate the virus entirely         
in persons already infected. Dr. Ho continues searching for improved treatments         
for AIDS, and to search for a vaccine which will eliminate the threat of AIDS           
At age 37, David Ho was appointed Director of the new Aaron Diamond AIDS                 
Research Center in New York City. His breakthrough work with the treatment of           
AIDS moved Time Magazine to name him its Man of the Year in 1996.