WHYY’s The Pulse and Local Trance Media present “SERUM,” an investigative series about Dr. Gary Davis, a possible AIDS cure, what happened to the supposedly curative serum made from goats’ antibodies, and why the FDA was quick to dismiss this research.
Reporter Grant Hill took a cab home one night and chatted with the driver who claimed he was a Hollywood insider and once helped a doctor on his journey to cure AIDS in the 1990s. This individual was Dr. Gary Davis from Tulsa, Oklahoma, and the driver told Hill he needed to fulfill a promise he made to share this information. Hill’s interest was piqued, and he began researching Davis’ story as shared on “SERUM.”
Davis was a Black, Ivy League-trained doctor who saw the virus kill members of his community and patients. In the 1990s, Dr. Davis started research and worked with goats to experiment with their immune response to the HIV virus. He used goats’ antibodies to create a serum, worked with Tuskegee University’s scientists, rented a lab, and eventually presented his research to the FDA. They were set to begin clinical trials until it was cancelled.
At the time, NIAID director Dr. Anthony Fauci criticized Dr. Davis who alternately gained loyal supporters, and some sued for access to the serum with its curative potential. Later on, Davis went to work in Africa to further develop the cure, start human trials, and created alliances with investors, athletes, and con artists. His untimely death led many of his followers to suspect foul play, since Davis was unable to bring the cure to the public.
This podcast examines Davis’ serum, the curative possibilities, and shares people’s stories who claim it saved them. Hill will explore why U.S. health agencies worked so fast to shut down clinical trials and dismiss Dr. Davis.
Stream “SERUM” from episode 1 to hear the complete story. In season 1, Hill interviewed Davis’ family members who wound up sharing different insights on Dr. Davis’ situation, and many questioned his bankruptcy followed by sudden wealth. Hill tracked down Dr. Davis’ patients, enemies, and a photographer in Tulsa, one of last people to see Dr. Davis’ serum work.
The investigative series is highly bingeable with all episodes running less than an hour on average. Tune in weekly for new episodes wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.