Archive for November, 2008

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Investors Says Yang’s Exit Opens Door for Fresh Microsoft Bid

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

By Brian Womack and Ian King?? From

Nov. 18 (Bloomberg) — Yahoo! Inc. is more likely than ever to be acquired by Microsoft Corp. after Yahoo Chief Executive Officer Jerry Yang said he plans to step down, investors said.

“The strategic necessity here is for this company to merge with Microsoft,” Larry Haverty, a fund manager at Gamco Investors Inc. in Rye, New York, said in a Bloomberg Television interview. The company manages about $24 billion, including Yahoo shares. “This is just unmitigated good news for the Yahoo shareholders.”

Yahoo stock rose 4.4 percent yesterday in late trading as investors predicted that a new CEO may broker an acquisition by Microsoft or a combination with another company. The company’s market value has dropped by more than $20 billion since Yang took over as CEO in June 2007. Discussions with Microsoft ended in failure, an ad partnership with Google Inc. was derailed and talks with Time Warner Inc.’s AOL stalled.

Microsoft and Yahoo trail Google, which controls more than 60 percent of the Internet-search market in the U.S. Microsoft has said that while it’s open to a search-ad deal with Yahoo, it isn’t interested in buying the company outright. Microsoft bid as much as $33 a share for Yahoo this year, and Yahoo now trades at a less than a third of that value. Microsoft may end up paying between $15 and $18 for Yahoo, Haverty said.

Yahoo President Susan Decker is a candidate for Yang’s job, said Brad Williams, a spokesman for Sunnyvale, California-based Yahoo. Yang, 40, will stay on the board and remains CEO until Yahoo finds a replacement, Yahoo said yesterday. He took the top job at the 13-year-old Internet company in June 2007.

`Poker Hands’

“He played one too many poker hands up there and got caught,” said Pat Becker of Becker Capital Management in Portland, Oregon. His firm owns Microsoft shares but not Yahoo. “Microsoft still believes that it needs scale” in the online advertising business.

Microsoft spokesman Bill Cox declined to comment. The Redmond, Washington-based company will hold its annual meeting for shareholders tomorrow.

There isn’t a time frame on finding a replacement for Yang, Yahoo’s Williams said. Yang had been in discussions with the board about seeking a replacement for “some time.”. He will return to his position of Chief Yahoo when the company finds a successor.

“We all agree that now is the right time to make the transition to a new CEO who can take the company to the next level,” Chairman Roy Bostock said in a statement. The company has hired Heidrick & Struggles International Inc. to help find a new CEO.

Shares Gain

Yahoo, owner of the No. 2 U.S. search engine, rose 47 cents to $11.10 in extended trading after closing at $10.63 on the Nasdaq Stock Market yesterday.

Yang’s departure “may open the door for dialogue that might not be there otherwise,” said Michael Cuggino, a portfolio manager at Pacific Heights Asset Management in San Francisco. “It may allow for some new blood, some new energy for maximizing shareholder value.”

Microsoft will probably end up owning Yahoo, said Ben Schachter, an analyst at UBS AG in New York. Yang’s departure highlights the board’s frustration with the lack of progress, he said. Short of a full acquisition, the company could team up with News Corp. or AOL, he said.

Yahoo investors withheld one third of their votes for Yang’s re-election to the board in August. He sidestepped a proxy fight with Carl Icahn, agreeing to give the billionaire investor three slots on the board. Icahn didn’t return calls seeking comment last night.

`Career Risk’

The search for a new CEO may not be an easy one, said Neil Sims, a managing director in the San Francisco office of Boyden, an executive search firm.

“Whoever would inherit that role would be taking a huge personal career risk because they’re handed a company in crisis,” Sims said. “If you were going to rebuild a viable organization, that was the time in 2007 to recruit an accomplished executive.”

Google, based in Mountain View, California, abandoned an agreement to sell ads alongside Yahoo’s search results this month after U.S. regulators threatened a lawsuit to block the partnership, saying it would give Google too much power.

Yang’s plan to reverse Yahoo’s slowing sales growth and profit declines was hampered by the global economic crisis, which caused advertisers to cut back on Internet spending. Yahoo announced plans in October to cut at least 1,500 jobs and reduce the number of contractors as finance, travel, retail and automotive advertisers scaled back their spending.

Yang’s departure won’t fix the long-term challenges to Yahoo stock, Cuggino said.

“It doesn’t make me want to go out and buy it right now,” he said. “There are other issues involved with the business model that go beyond him.”

Ford Tallies Potential Losses

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

Up to 25 States Could Lose 3,000 Ford-Related Jobs
The debate over the job loss attached to the potential failure of Detroit’s Big Three auto makers took another turn as an internal document from Ford Motor Co. showed thousands of workers in every state could be at risk.

The state-by-state tally detailed the number of workers directly employed by Ford, the number of auto parts suppliers who work with the company and the amount they spend to support their business. To demonstrate the far-reaching tentacles of the industry, Ford also outlined the number employed at its dealerships and the total amount of health care spending related to those who work for the nation’s second largest U.S.-based auto manufacturer.

According to the analysis obtained by The Wall Street Journal late Monday, 25 states could lose 3,000 Ford-related jobs or more if the auto maker were to disappear.

To be sure, the job loss would be felt most acutely in the nation’s Rust Belt. In Michigan, Dearborn-based Ford employs 38,380 auto workers and relies on 3,111 auto parts suppliers, according to the document. In Ohio, the numbers are also high, with 8,540 workers at Ford. But a state like Kentucky would also feel the pain, with 5,615 employees working directly for Ford. Thousands more employees who work for suppliers and dealers at Ford would only add to the potential job loss.

The tabulated data is part of a concerted and intense public relations effort before the chief executives at General Motors Corp., Ford and Chrysler LLC testify in front of Congress Tuesday in support of a proposal to extend $25 billion in low-interest loans to the ailing auto makers. After skepticism voiced by some U.S. representatives and senators from outside the states where Detroit’s Big Three reign, GM, Ford and Chrysler launched a broad media campaign to prove to a national audience that their survival is key to the nation’s economic health.

It was unclear late Monday whether the analysis compiled by Ford would be presented to members of the Senate Banking Committee, the first of two congressional committees to explore the crisis in the auto industry at hearings this week.

As part of the public relations blitz, Ford Chief Executive Alan Mulally is expected to make his case in half-dozen separate national television appearances Tuesday, according to those familiar with the matter.

After years of restructuring that has closed dozens of plants and shed thousands of workers, Detroit’s Big Three auto makers are now turning to governments around the world to fund a vast downsizing of their industry. The companies’ poor earnings posted earlier this month make it clear Ford and GM are running out of money to finance their Michigan-based businesses, with GM the sicker of the two. Less is known about Chrysler, which is privately held.

At Ford, the auto maker hopes to improve its cash position with or without additional governmental loans. It said it will boost its position by between $14 billion and $17 billion by the end of 2010, through a mix of job cuts, reduced benefits, lower capital spending, selling assets and new financing measures. GM also announced it would bump up its plan for $15 billion in liquidity initiatives outlined in July 2008 by another $5 billion of incremental actions.

More worrisome than the crippling, billion-dollar losses posted by GM and Ford earlier this month was the greater-than-expected cash burn at each company. Ford plowed through $7.7 billion, seeing its liquidity position plummet to $18.9 billion.

Ford said the cash outflow has been greater than anticipated, but Chief Financial Officer Lewis Booth told reporters earlier this month the company is “comfortable with its liquidity position.” The company expects the amount of cash burn in the fourth quarter to be less than the third quarter. GM on the other hand has said that it could run out of the funds it needs to operate the business as soon as the end of the year without a massive infusion of cash or a radical improvement in auto sales.

Critically, Ford also has available credit lines of $10.7 billion to supplement its gross cash of $18.9 billion at the end of the third quarter. Mr. Booth has said Ford doesn’t expect to tap the loan revolvers, noting that the company will continue to aggressively reduce costs and manage cash with discipline.

Ford is in a better position than its rivals in terms of liquidity in part owing to a decision in late 2006 by Mr. Mulally, who had just recently joined the company, to raise more $23 billion in debt using almost all the company’s assets as collateral. Despite those moves, Ford has registered $24 billion in net losses since the start of 2006, and its stock price has traded at multidecade lows in recent months.

All auto makers have been stung by a steep decline in demand from consumers grappling with mounting economic woes and reduced availability of credit in recent months. For much of the year, Ford and its peers were hurt primarily by the sharp decline in sales of trucks and sport-utility vehicles as fuel prices hit record highs. But just as fuel prices started receding, the financial crisis sent consumer confidence reeling, keeping potential buyers out of showrooms entirely.

Kodak Sues LG, Samsung Over Camera Patents

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

Eastman Kodak Co., which has increasingly turned to its patent portfolio in search of profit, said it sued Samsung Electronics Co. and LG Electronics Co., accusing them of infringing Kodak patents in the design of camera phones.

Kodak has reached licensing deals with most rival makers of digital cameras as well as most makers of camera phones. Earlier this year it announced an agreement with Nokia Corp.

Kodak said the patents cover technology related to capturing images, data compression and storage, and a method for previewing motion images.

A Kodak spokesman said the Rochester, N.Y., company had negotiated with Samsung and LG, both of which are based in Seoul, but hadn’t been able to reach an agreement.

“Our digital-camera technology is different from the one used by Kodak. We haven’t infringed upon Kodak’s related patents,” said LG Electronics spokesman Choi Jun-hyuk. “We’ll actively deal with the case.”

Samsung spokeswoman Hae Won Choi said: “Samsung is committed to protecting and respecting intellectual-property rights. The company forbids infringement and unauthorized use of such intellectual property. Samsung plans to respond actively to this litigation and will remain committed to serving our customers by ensuring that accurate and reliable delivery of our products is not compromised in any way.”

Kodak said it filed suit in U.S. District Court in Rochester and filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission. Kodak said it is seeking undisclosed damages and an injunction prohibiting Samsung and LG from importing and selling any infringing products.

Kodak’s chief executive, Antonio Perez, has pursued licensing revenue to help the company recover from years of huge losses.

Mr. Perez has told investors that Kodak receives between $250 million and $350 million a year in revenue from its intellectual-property portfolio. That contributes a significant portion of Kodak’s income.

—In-Soo Nam contributed to this article.

Google ‘Voice Search’ hands-on verdict: Awesome

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

Posted by Rafe Needleman? from

The new voice-activated Google Mobile app for the iPhone is finally here. Whatever the reason for the delay, it was worth the wait. The search app knows when you bring the phone to your face to speak into it. It beeps, you talk, and it executes a Google search on what you said. (If you’re using a headset, you have to press a button. You can type in your queries, too, if you want.)

It is freakishly accurate. It’s not perfect, but it’s extremely good. Good enough to be used frequently, I’d say, although this review is based on only 15 minutes of experimentation.

I searched for names of people I knew, businesses nearby, airline information, and other miscellaneous data. The service bungled one nearby restaurant, but got everything else right. It uses the phone’s location data to narrow down results. Try searching for “sushi” and you’ll get your closest sushi restaurants at the top of your search results.

The Google Mobile app gives you its answers in text, which makes for a very quick experience. If your result returns phone numbers, you can dial the phone by clicking on one. But if you’re driving in your car and need a quick connection, use Goog411 instead, which is a full voice-in, voice-out experience.

As others have noted, Google Mobile doesn’t let you do voice dialing from your own contact list. It’s frustrating to be able to search the entire Web with your voice but not be able to search your own phone. But it’s still a useful and very cool little service.

To get the app, go to this link or visit the iTunes Application Store and search for “Google Mobile App.” As I write this, the description for the page is old, but the app you get is the new one.

Intel officially launches Core i7

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

Intel’s next-generation microarchitecture has arrived. Officially.

Intel made the debut of the Core i7 processor official on Monday afternoon, launching the processor at an event in San Francisco. PC makers, including Dell and Gateway, quickly followed suit with announcements.

“The Core i7 processor speeds video editing (and) immersive games…by up to 40 percent without increasing power consumption,” the Intel said in a statement.

Combining the i7 with super-fast solid state drives will lead to significant jumps in performance, according to Pat Gelsinger, senior vice president and general manager of Intel’s Digital Enterprise Group. “When you couple what is Intel’s biggest leap in chip design with other incredible innovations like Intel’s solid state drives, the Core i7 processor has redefined the computer of tomorrow,” he said in a statement.

The i7 also packs a technology called Turbo Boost that accelerates performance to match a computer user’s needs and workloads. Through an on-chip power control unit, Turbo Boost automatically adjusts the clock speed of one or more of the four individual processing cores without increasing power consumption, Intel said.

The new chip also has the latest Intel power-saving technologies, allowing desktops to go into sleep states formerly reserved for Intel-based notebooks.

And it ushers in the age of the “monolithic die” for Intel. (AMD has been doing this for over a year now.) The core i7 is one of Intel’s first processors to put four cores on one piece of silicon, referred to as a monolithic die. Previous Intel quad-core chips cobbled together two dual-core die.

Other features include QuickPath, which doubles the memory bandwidth of previous Intel “Extreme” platforms, and Hyper-Threading Technology, which allows multiple computing threads to run simultaneously, effectively enabling the chip to do two things at once.

Each Core i7 processor features an 8 MB level 3 cache and three channels of DDR3 1066 memory.

Dell, Gateway, and Alienware (a Dell subsidiary) have all announced systems using the new chip.

Yang Zhiyuan Announces Resignation As CEO

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008


SAN FRANCISCO -(Dow Jones)- Embattled Yahoo Inc. (YHOO) Chief Executive Jerry Yang has agreed to give up his position, leaving the struggling Internet giant without a clear leader and increasing the possibility an acquirer might seek to buy it.

Yahoo, which earlier this year was the target of a $47.5 billion unsolicited takeover attempt by Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), said Monday it had hired a search firm to look for a successor to Yang, who co-founded the 13-year-old company while he was a graduate student at Stanford University.

Yahoo said it would consider internal and external candidates for the job. Yahoo President Sue Decker is one of the candidates under consideration, a person familiar with the situation said. It wasn’t clear why the company hadn’t immediately appointed her as chief executive or why Yang’s resignation was announced without a successor already chosen.

The new CEO will face a series of difficult challenges, including trying to turn around Yahoo’s slumping online advertising business. The new CEO might also be thrust into the difficult position of trying to strike a deal with potential acquirers from a very obvious position of weakness.

“This is a company that could use additional executive experience, but you still have the same strategic issues,” said Colin Gillis, managing partner at Click Capital Research.

Reaction to the news, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, was quick. Yahoo shares, which had fallen 1.8% to $10.63 during the regular session, jumped to $11.10 in after-hours trading. Three months ago, Yahoo shares were trading at twice that level.

Yang has been under intense shareholder pressure ever since he rejected Microsoft’s offer earlier this year. Calls for his resignation have only increased as Yahoo’s business has deteriorated with the slumping economy.

The company, once the leader in Internet advertising, has been losing share in the market for Internet search to Google Inc. (GOOG) and it has been unable to make as much money per search as its larger rival. Yahoo has also been hard hit by the weakening economy because it is more heavily exposed to the slumping online display advertising market.

Yang’s dwindling options were recently reduced even further when Google pulled out of a search advertising pact that would have generated hundreds of millions of dollars in additional revenue for Yahoo.

The collapse of that deal prompted Yang to publicly declare he was open to clinching a deal with Microsoft. At one point, Microsoft offered $33 a share to buy the company.

“To this day, I’d say the best thing for Microsoft to do is buy Yahoo,” Yang said at a conference earlier this month. “We’re willing to sell the company.”

Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer, however, said at one point Yang was an impediment to striking a deal with Yahoo. The company has maintained it was no longer interested in buying Yahoo. Analysts, however, say if Microsoft is serious about mounting a credible challenge to Google, it had no clear choice other than to revisit an acquisition of the company. Microsoft declined to comment.

In addition to battling outsiders, Yang has also had to contend with restive shareholders. Activist investor Carl Icahn, who is Yahoo’s biggest shareholder and earlier this year forced himself onto Yahoo’s board, has continually pressured Yang to consider selling the company. Icahn, who earlier pushed for Yang to sell the company to Microsoft, recently said the company ought to strike a search deal with the software giant.

Icahn didn’t return a call seeking comment.

Yang, who took over as CEO in June 2007, has been plagued with challenges. Initially tasked with trying to revive Yahoo’s slumping online advertising business, he introduced a series of strategic and technical initiatives late last year. But Wall Street remained unconvinced, setting the stage for Microsoft’s takeover bid earlier this year.

In a press release, Yahoo Chairman Roy Bostock suggested Yang’s decision was amicable and came after long discussion inside the company.

“Jerry and the Board have had an ongoing dialogue about succession timing, and we all agree that now is the right time to make the transition to a new CEO who can take the company to the next level,” Bostock said in a statement.

Yang, who will remain CEO until a successor is named, will return to a less formal but still-visible role within the company and remain on its board, Bostock’s statement said.

Yang, who immigrated to the U.S. from Taiwan as child, created Yahoo in 1994 with fellow Stanford University graduate student David Filo. The two envisioned the site as a directory of material available in the growing online world, a concept that still underscores the feel and operation of the Web site.

The concept quickly grew popular and by 1995, well before the birth of the commercial Internet, Yahoo was regularly getting 200,000 visitors a day. In 1995, Yang and Filo, who had dubbed themselves Chief Yahoos rather than take on more corporate titles, got early support from venture capitalist Michael Moritz at Sequioa.

A year later, Yahoo was employing 39 full-time staffers, including 19 people, known as “surfers,” who categorized Web sites vying for a coveted place on the company’s list. In 1996, Yahoo sold its shares to the public in an initial offering underwritten by Goldman Sachs & Co. The deal made Yang and Filo instant millionaires, as well as symbols of the Internet bubble that was beginning to inflate in Silicon Valley.

For a while, Yahoo was the undisputed king of the Internet, charging ever- higher prices for advertising. But the company began running into problems, finding it harder to develop new revenue streams. It also faced new challengers, most notably Google, a search engine that used a mathematical approach to finding information on the Web.


Sunday, November 16th, 2008

IMF Bailouts: Austerity Is The Answer?

Sunday, November 16th, 2008

By Barrett Sheridan | From the magazine issue dated Nov 14, 2008

The International Monetary Fund has roared back from irrelevancy, with a central role in the fight against the global credit contagion. Only poor debtor nations have doubts, because once again, the IMF is urging budget austerity on some borrowers, even as rich nations roll out eyepopping spending plans to fight recession.

Already, Hungary and Ukraine have reluctantly tapped the fund for loans totaling $32 billion, in exchange for belt-tightening. Ukraine, with a budget deficit of 1.7 percent of GDP this year, will have to balance its books in 2009. Hungary will have to keep interest rates sky-high while it works to tame inflation.

The IMF’s demands were unpopular during the 1998 Asian financial crisis, and many emerging markets subsequently got their economic houses in order, precisely to avoid dealing with the IMF again. But as the crisis grows, even newly rich nations worry they may have to go back to the IMF, which has also learned its lesson—creating a new $100 billion fund that will give condition-free loans to nations that have sound policies, including balanced budgets. “After the Asian crisis, the IMF pretty much acknowledged that it shouldn’t be putting 150 conditions [on loan deals] and trying to micromanage economies,” says Mark Weisbrot, codirector of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. “They’ll never do what they did 10 years ago. But they can still do serious damage.”

HIV News: Vaccine, Bone Marrow Transplant, Vitamin C

Sunday, November 16th, 2008

By Sue Mueller & David Liu from?
Nov 15, 2008 – 2:13:45 PM

Why HIV vaccine fails

Dr. A. White of Duke University medical Center A published an article in the Sep 2, 2008 issue of Medical Hypotheses suggests that Merck’s V520 is destined to fail to prevent HIV infection in a recent trial.

Trial sponsored by Merck and the US government showed that the vaccine did not prevent infection in those not previously infected with HIV, nor did the vaccine reduce the virus load in those who did receive the vaccine.

As a matter of fact, those who received the vaccine were actually much more likely to become HIV positive, particularly among men who were also uncircumcised and had pre-existing immunity to adenovirus type 5, which was used as a carrier for the vaccine.

Dr. White said vaccines prior to V520 were intended to evoke strong anti-body-mediated immune response to prevent HIV virus from entering host cells. ? V520 however was meant to evoke a cell-mediated immune response to HIV, allowing HIV entering cells and then trying to conquer it in the infected cells.?

According to Dr. White, these two types immune response, antibody-mediated for extracellular infections and cell-mediated primarily for intracellular infections work in a teeter-totter manner. ? When one is suppressed the other is activated.?

V520 was well intentioned, White said. ? HIV quickly infects host cells right after entering the body, and a strong cell-mediated response is required to defeat the HIV virus.?

The problem, it seems to dr. White, is that the antibody-mediated immune response triggered by V520 suppressed the ability of the body to have the cell-mediated immune response that is needed to protect against HIV creating a window of opportunity for HIV infection. ? This is particularly the case for those who had exposed themselves to the adenovirus vector.

Dr. White acknowledged that the immune system uses antibodies to indentify extracellular pathogens, also said that it uses transfer factors to label infected host cells.

White suggested that “HIV-specific transfer factors could prove extremely useful, far more useful than vaccines, in preventing and treating HIV infections.” as hundred of studies indicated that pathogen -specific transfer factors can be used to stimulate the cell-mediated immune response against viruses. (by David Liu)

Bone marrow transplant cures man of AIDS??

Doctors in Berlin said a man was cured of AIDS after he received bone marrow transplant from a donor naturally resistant to HIV virus. ?? The man had been negative for HIV for nearly two years ever since the treatment.??

But the experts quickly warned that the treatment is not feasible for most AIDS patients or HIV carriers because for one thing donors with the genetic mutation that may be responsible for the miraculous cure are rare. ??? Only one in every 1,000 Europeans and Americans may carry the desirable mutation.

Other obstacles to successfully receiving the procedure are high risk of dying from the procedures itself. ?? Studies showed 20 to 30 percent of patients die from bone marrow transplant because the sick bone marrow needs to be killed by high doses of radiation and or medications.

Even if some people can find a HIV-resistant donor and be able to survive the procedure, bone marrow transplant is too costly for millions of HIV carriers and AIDS patients who live in Africa where the disease is most commonly seen.

The 42-year-old man suffered both leukemia and HIV. ?? Ever since he received the transplant at Berlin’s Charite clinic two years ago, he had been free of HIV virus as tests on the man’s bone marrow, blood and other organ tissues had been all clear.??

Scientists believe the mutated gene of concern, called Delta 32, prevents HIV from attaching itself to cells by blocking a receptor called CCR5.???

But doctors are not so sure if the man was cured because of the genetic mutation in the donated bone marrow. ?? But theoretically, knocking out the receptor by a gene therapy may be a future treatment for AIDS, Professor Andrew Sewell, University of Cardiff, was cited by BBC as saying.

This German case is an exceptional, said a health observer. Previous reports showed that bone marrow transplantation could be more likely to spread HIV than cure AIDS. (by Sue Mueller)

Vitamin C inhibits replication of HIV

S. Harakeh and R. J. Jariwalla at Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine in Palo Alto, CA has done quite some research on the inhibitory effect of vitamin C on HIV replication and found that this vitamin along with other reducing agents may be used as a treatment to reduce the virus titer.

In a report published in the Dec 1991 issue of American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Harakeh and Jariwalla said they tested calcium ascorbate and two thiol-based reducing agents (glutathione and N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC)) for their effect against the human immunodeficiency virus HIV-1 replication in chronically infected T lymphocytes.

They found that calcium ascorbate has the same magnitude of effect at reducing extracellular HIV reverse transcriptase as ascorbic acid or vitamin C does. But chronic exposure to ascorbate was necessary for HIV suppression. ? NAC, but not glutathione caused less than twofold inhibition of HIV reverse transcriptase and rendered a synergistic effect (about 8-fold inhibition) when tested together with vitamin C.

Later in 1994, the researchers published another study in the June 1994 issue of Chem Biol Interact saying that “the activity of an HIV LTR-directed reporter protein made in ascorbate-treated cells was reduced to approximately 11% relative to that of untreated control,” indicating that vitamin C “exerts a posttranslational inhibitory effect on HIV by causing impairment of enzymatic activity.”

In 1995, Harakeh and Jariwalla reported in the Sep-Oct issue of Nutrition that “exposure to 300 micrograms/ml ascorbate resulted in approximately 5- to 10-fold lowering of the extra-cellular RT (reverse transcriptase) titer. In contrast, no significant suppression in extracellular RT levels was seen with concentrations of AZT (an antiviral drug) in the range of 1-5 micrograms/ml.” (By David Liu)