Tag Archives | HIV

Discover of New Antibody Takes Step Forward Towards AIDS Vaccine

The progress made recently in HIV and AIDS research seems to have taken the media by storm. With advancements such as earlier treatment in HIV and AIDS patients, and a vaginal gel found to decrease the risk of infection, it appears we’re a step closer towards vaccination. The most recent breakthrough with the discovery of three new HIV antibodies gives hope to scientists that a vaccine will be found. Drew Halley of SingularityHub reports:

Will HIV eventually go the way of smallpox and polio? Earlier this month, scientists at the National Institute of Health (NIH) announced their discovery of three new HIV antibodies, the most powerful of which neutralizes 91% of all HIV strains. These are the strongest antibodies yet found, and they could hold the key to developing a vaccine to AIDS.

HIV antibodies themselves aren’t rare, and scientists regularly find ones that are effective against a few different strains.

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True Blood For African Addicts

At what point do people need a fix so bad that they are willing to inject another person’s blood into themselves? With the constant presence of AIDS related deaths in Africa, and the progressive educational-outreach towards sex workers and addicts, it would seem a foolish thought. BBC reports:

Desperate heroin users in a few African cities have begun engaging in a practice that is so dangerous it is almost unthinkable: they deliberately inject themselves with another addict’s blood, researchers say, in an effort to share the high or stave off the pangs of withdrawal.

The practice, called flashblood or sometimes flushblood, is not common, but has been reported in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on the island of Zanzibar and in Mombasa, Kenya.

It puts users at the highest possible risk of contracting AIDS and hepatitis. While most AIDS transmission in Africa is by heterosexual sex, the use of heroin is growing in some cities, and experts are warning that flashblood — along with syringe-sharing and other dangerous habits — could fuel a new wave of AIDS infections.

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HIV ‘Bombs’ Latest Afghanistan Hazard

Searching_Afghan_war_ruins_in_UruzganI’d suggest taking this report with a pinch of salt as it comes from the notorious Murdoch-owned British tabloid The Sun, but one has to admit, it’s scary if true:

Taliban fighters are burying dirty needles with their bombs in a bid to infect British troops with HIV, The Sun can reveal.

Hypodermic syringes are hidden below the surface pointing upwards to prick bomb squad experts as they hunt for devices.

The heroin needles are feared to be contaminated with hepatitis and HIV. And if the bomb goes off, the needles become deadly flying shrapnel. The tactic, used in the Afghan badlands of Helmand, was exposed by Tory MP and ex-Army officer Patrick Mercer.

Senior backbencher Mr Mercer said yesterday: “Are there no depths to which these people will stoop? This is the definition of a dirty war.”…

[continues in The Sun]

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Health Care Insurer Assurant, Targeted HIV Patients to Drop Coverage

Assurant Health is EvilTalk about a terrible name regarding these circumstances ... "Assurant" Health? Why purchase health insurance in the first place if this can happen? Murray Waas writes on Reuters:
WASHINGTON — In May 2002, Jerome Mitchell, a 17-year old college freshman from rural South Carolina, learned he had contracted HIV. The news, of course, was devastating, but Mitchell believed that he had one thing going for him: On his own initiative, in anticipation of his first year in college, he had purchased his own health insurance. Shortly after his diagnosis, however, his insurance company, Fortis, revoked his policy. Mitchell was told that without further treatment his HIV would become full-blown AIDS within a year or two and he would most likely die within two years after that. So he hired an attorney — not because he wanted to sue anyone; on the contrary, the shy African-American teenager expected his insurance was canceled by mistake and would be reinstated once he set the company straight. But Fortis, now known as Assurant Health, ignored his attorney's letters, as they had earlier inquiries from a case worker at a local clinic who was helping him. So Mitchell sued.
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Man Appears Free of HIV After Stem Cell Transplant

Jacquelyne Froeber writes on CNN:

A 42-year-old HIV patient with leukemia appears to have no detectable HIV in his blood and no symptoms after a stem cell transplant from a donor carrying a gene mutation that confers natural resistance to the virus that causes AIDS, according to a report published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

“The patient is fine,” said Dr. Gero Hutter of Charite Universitatsmedizin Berlin in Germany. “Today, two years after his transplantation, he is still without any signs of HIV disease and without antiretroviral medication.”

The case was first reported in November, and the new report is the first official publication of the case in a medical journal. Hutter and a team of medical professionals performed the stem cell transplant on the patient, an American living in Germany, to treat the man’s leukemia, not the HIV itself.

However, the team deliberately chose a compatible donor who has a naturally occurring gene mutation that confers resistance to HIV.

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Scientists Crack HIV/AIDS Puzzle

Potentially big news, via Reuters:

Scientists say they have solved a crucial puzzle about the AIDS virus after 20 years of research and that their findings could lead to better treatments for HIV.

British and U.S. researchers said they had grown a crystal that enabled them to see the structure of an enzyme called integrase, which is found in retroviruses like HIV and is a target for some of the newest HIV medicines.

“Despite initially painstakingly slow progress and very many failed attempts, we did not give up and our effort was finally rewarded,” said Peter Cherepanov of Imperial College London, who conducted the research with scientists from Harvard University.

The Imperial and Harvard scientists said that having the integrase structure means researchers can begin fully to understand how integrase inhibitor drugs work, how they might be improved, and how to stop HIV developing resistance to them…

[continues at Reuters]

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The Science Establishment Acts To Knock Out Publication That Dared To Support An Outsider

Peter Duesberg

Peter Duesberg

Here’s a crazy, but none-too-surprising, story from the UK’s Times Higher Education illustrating the way that establishment academics and scientists rally to discredit and run out of town any “rogue” scientists or scholars who dare question the orthodox view of things. THE’s own language is a bit suspect concerning Peter Duesberg, but nevertheless, the point is well made:

It has published papers on everything from ejaculation as a treatment for nasal congestion to why modern scientists are so dull, but the future of Medical Hypotheses is hanging in the balance after a host of complaints from high-profile researchers.

The irreverent publication is the only Elsevier journal not to subject its submissions to peer review. Instead, its editor decides what to publish on the basis of how interesting or radical a paper is, and how well expressed the arguments are.

But its future is in doubt after editor-in-chief Bruce Charlton, professor of theoretical medicine at the University of Buckingham, published a paper from a well-known HIV/Aids denier.

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Man Injects Sleeping Wife With HIV

New Zealand’s Sunday Star Times carries the most disturbing personal tragedy I’ve read about in a very long time:

An HIV-positive man injected his wife with his own blood while she slept, infecting her with the virus that causes Aids.

It is believed the man wanted to give her the disease so she would start having sex with him again. She told police he also hoped it would prevent her from finding another man and leaving him.

The man, 35, admitted infecting his wife, in the first case of its kind in New Zealand. In other cases, HIV-positive people have infected others through unprotected sex.

The man has been remanded in prison awaiting sentence for wilfully infecting another with a disease, an offence that carries a maximum 14 years’ imprisonment. The pair cannot be identified.

In court documents, the woman, 33, described how her husband twice pricked her with a sewing needle laced with his infected blood as she slept and how she once caught him handling a syringe full of his blood.

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Another Kind of AIDS Crisis

David France reports that a striking number of HIV patients are living longer but getting older faster—showing early signs of dementia and bone weakness usually seen in the elderly, in New York Magazine:

When David Simpson was working at Mount Sinai Medical Center as a young neurologist in 1984, the neuro-AIDS program occupied a dark warren of tiny rooms in the complex’s basement. It was a place overwhelmed by plague, a final stop on a doomed journey. “People came in with seizures or paralyzed on half their body. People came in in comas. Men were screaming—I have videotapes of this,” says Simpson, the program’s director. “Bedbound, incontinent, couldn’t sleep. They could be dead in a number of days.”

Those are memories of a distant past. When the drugs arrived in 1996, they ended this kind of pitiless death and put many AIDS wards out of business. The famous St. Vincent’s seventh-floor ward now houses offices for the orthopedic department.

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The HIV / AIDS Story Is Being Rewritten

In House of Numbers, an AIDS film like no other, the HIV/AIDS story is being rewritten. This is the first film to present the uncensored POVs of virtually all the major players; in their own settings, in their own words. It rocks the foundation upon which all conventional wisdom regarding HIV/AIDS is based. House of Numbers could well be the opening volley in a battle to bring sanity and clarity to an epidemic gone awry.
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