Alternative to max query?

Here is the database I'm using: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ArJekOQpal0JFIr1h3NXYcFVngnCNUxg/view?usp=sharing

I'm trying to find out how I could return the research interest(descrip) with the largest number of interested academics(acnum) without the use of MAX query or ouputting descending order.

Each academic has a unique acnum, so I'm trying to link it with research interest(descrip) without having duplicate acnums.

I tried this:

SELECT x.descrip,
x.name_count
FROM (select u.descrip,
count(*) as name_count,
rank() over (order by count(*) desc) as rank
FROM interest u
WHERE u.descrip IS NOT NULL
GROUP BY u.descrip) x
WHERE x.rank = 1;

It partly works, but the acnums are duplicates, I want it to count distinct acnums.