Dr. David Ho's extraordinary talent and dedication to HIV/AIDS research and therapy are on full display in the lasting influence he has made in these fields. His scientific discoveries and tireless campaigning for AIDS awareness have helped significantly improve the treatment of a once-fatal disease. His major role in medicine exemplifies not just his grandeur as a person, but also the efficacy of research and innovation in the face of global health issues.
Dr. David Da-i Ho's seminal work on HIV/AIDS ensures him a permanent place in medical history. His innovative work on antiretroviral medication has revolutionized HIV treatment and saved countless lives throughout the world. Ho's novel treatments have made AIDS more of a chronic illness rather than a death sentence.
David Ho's life story begins on November 3, 1952, in Taichung, Taiwan, where he was born. When he was 12 years old, his family made the big trip to America. Motivated by his interest in medicine and science, Ho obtained a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Caltech and a Medical Degree from the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology.
When the AIDS epidemic first began to spread in the early 1980s, Ho devoted his life's work to learning more about it. When he was just starting out as a doctor and researcher at UCLA, he was one of the first to report the phenomena of ongoing viral replication in AIDS patients. The findings of this study cast doubt on the theory that HIV lagged for a long time before triggering AIDS.
Ho made significant strides in our understanding of the HIV life cycle during his tenure as the center's scientific director and chief executive officer at New York's Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center in the 1990s. His research proved the virus was capable of rapid multiplication and mutation, which drained the body's defenses over time.
The discovery that HIV replication might be reduced by delivering a combination of medications, currently known as Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART), was a major breakthrough for Ho and the development of antiretroviral therapy. This method, which was first used to treat HIV/AIDS in 1996, has now become the gold standard and has reduced the disease from a deadly diagnosis to a chronic, treatable condition.
Because of his groundbreaking efforts in the fight against AIDS, he was named Time magazine's "Man of the Year" in 1996.
Ho is well-known not only for his scientific work but also for his tireless efforts to raise HIV/AIDS consciousness and fund related scientific study. He is still at the helm of research towards an HIV vaccine and possible treatment. As part of his ongoing study, he is also looking into antibodies that may neutralize a wide variety of HIV strains.