LIKE SALOME'S VEILS, layers of mystery enshrouding the identity of a reputed infectious agent are being cast aside.
Two were shed recently with publication of reports by Shyh-Ching Lo, MD, that have brought a long-awaited description of a novel virus-like infectious agent (VLIA) that, for the last 3 years, had been intermittently rumored to be a possible causitive agent in acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). The reports indicate that the agent can be isolated from tissues of some patients with AIDS and that it causes a wasting disease in monkeys.
Lo, who is head of the AIDS pathology division of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology's molecular pathobiology laboratory, reported in February (Am J Trop Med Hyg. 1989;40:213-226) that he had isolated and cloned VLIA from 7 of 10 patients with AIDS—3 years after he had informally announced that he had discovered the agent. In April (Am J Trop Med Hyg