Dr. Jesse Clark

How COVID vaccines have boosted the development of an HIV vaccine

By Michaeleen Doucleff, NPR

About a year ago, Dr. Jesse Clark was taking care of people hospitalized with COVID when he met a man he’ll never forget.

“I thought he was sleeping,” says Clark, who’s an infectious disease specialist at the University of California, Los Angeles. The man was lying still in the bed. “But when I got around to the other side of the bed, he looked up at me and said, ‘My mother just died of COVID. My cousin brought this into the family. She said she was wearing a mask, but she didn’t. She got COVID. Now she’s dead, too. She has two kids. What’s going to happen to them?’ ”

Then the man says, “Am I going to die of COVID?”

The man was doing well enough to fight off SARS-CoV-2, Clark says. And eventually he recovered. But that moment lingered in Clark’s memory because it reminded him of another incredibly sad – and scary – moment in his life.

It happened when he was a young man during the early stages of the HIV pandemic. Read more …