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    Immune system can suppress HIV

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/944851.stm

    Huh, I didn't know that. According to the BBC, "HIV patients who receive early treatment for the virus can be eventually taken off drugs without any ill effects, according to doctors."
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    #2
    Re: Immune system can suppress HIV

    Originally posted by Wounded Ronin
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/944851.stm

    Huh, I didn't know that. According to the BBC, "HIV patients who receive early treatment for the virus can be eventually taken off drugs without any ill effects, according to doctors."
    This is kindof stupid. If you know anything about the disease, you know that there are multiple infection stages:

    A) Virus goes into the body.
    B) Virus spreads to immune system cells.
    C) Virus lies dormant in the body until:
    D) There is a secondary immune system response. Meaning, you get some illness such as flu, TB, etc., which requires an immune system response.
    E) You're toast. Meaning, the virus starts replicating like mad, and takes out your immune system unless you take antiviral medication and the cocktail.

    It's obvious in this study that what happened was that they killed off most of the initial viral load, so that the virus is now dormant in the immune system cells.

    Just wait for the secondary immune response to a disease, and then these people will get full blown AIDS.

    It's hard to believe that they publish this stuff without understanding more about the disease.

    Theoretically, if you can avoid getting flu, TB, or other diseases you can go for a long time without ever getting full blown AIDS but most people eventually get something.

    Comment


      #3
      I'd like to think that Medical Doctors doing research about HIV probably know more about the virus than you do, edward.

      No offense of course.
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        #4
        I am inclined to agree with Antagony Edward ... unless you have watched 200 plus hours of medical shows to justify your expertise in the field.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by Antagony
          I'd like to think that Medical Doctors doing research about HIV probably know more about the virus than you do, edward.

          No offense of course.
          I have a degree in Biology with a specialization in immunology (I was pre-med).

          Most medical doctors probably do not know more about HIV than I do.

          It seems like what happened with this article was that the news media jumped on these results without actually consulting an HIV specialist about the actual meanings of the findings.

          If you have a viral load of 200, that means you still have the virus. Only if the virus is completely wiped out, even after a big immune system response, like a flu, or TB or something, meaning a viral load of 0 after all of these, then are you considered free of HIV.

          Plus, the time period in this study (9 months) or whatever is just too short.

          Take this guy with the under 300 viral load, keep him off the retroviral drugs, give him tuberculosis, let him stew for a few weeks before giving him any antibiotics, and then see what happens. That would be a better study.
          Last edited by edward; 9/23/2004 2:22pm, .

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            #6
            What is the date of that bbc article? For some reason I'm having a hard time traking down a pdf of the journal article.

            Comment


              #7
              The problem with AIDS research these days seems to be that people either haven't studied basic biology and immunology or don't care? Maybe they're doing it just to get grants?

              It's incredible the ignorance level that these researchers seem to be showing.

              HIV is a retrovirus. So it goes into the DNA, and stays there. You don't get it out of the DNA.

              The only way to totally clear it out of the body would be to kill all the cells that are affected, and keep it from replicating. This would require some sort of genetic specific immunoglobulins that can actually go into the cells themselves and keep that DNA from being transcribed, or initiate some sort of cell death cycle to kill the cells that show symptoms.

              So the problems with the current research are twofold:

              A) Focusing on vaccines. You can't have a vaccine because a vaccine relies upon the immune system cells responding to an antigen. When this happens, the AIDS virus attacks those immune system cells.
              B) Focusing on antiviral approaches. You don't remove the virus. You only suppress the virus, requiring people to be on antiviral medications with bad side effects for the rest of their lives.

              The only way to really treat the AIDS virus would be to somehow make the antiviral machinery an actual part of the immune system, or an integrated part of the body.

              This would require either some sort of genetic modifications to the body's immune system. For instance, add your own retrovirus, that programs the body to produce viral inhibiting molecules. But anytime you have a retrovirus, you have the possibility of cancers, because the virus can insert itself in the wrong place within the DNA. Another possible approach might be some sort of nanotechnology, but that's DECADES away from being feasible.

              This approach that they're taking MIGHT work if you found out infection the same day or a few hours after infection. At that point taking antiviral medications might suppress the virus enough so that it can't infect the body to any major degree.


              So until our understanding of genetics increases to the point where we can design people with a different immune system response (or so they produce antiviral compounds within their own body) or we get good enough to do nanotechnology, or we find some method of doing very effective immunoglobulin type markers that can either kill the viral contaminated cells (mark them for deletion somehow), there's no point in doing this interim research.

              In the meantime the best way to treat this would be to have easy, at home testing, where you can test you and your partner for the virus, basically all the time (every day), and take a bunch of AZT or other antiviral compounds when you first find out that you're infected.

              Of course, it usually takes 30-90 days for HIV to show up in the tests, and by that time you're already infected.

              But this is what they're currently doing with newborns. They can keep a lot of newborns from getting HIV by this method, once they find the mother has HIV.
              Last edited by edward; 9/23/2004 4:08pm, .

              Comment


                #8
                If my understanding is correct the antivirals restrict the proliferation of the virus to other cells, reducing the impact of the infection. Thus even after a long time after infection an active immune system is in place.

                By the same reasoning immunosuppresion of the virus would have the same effect.

                Outside of my field of biology though.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Dochter
                  If my understanding is correct the antivirals restrict the proliferation of the virus to other cells, reducing the impact of the infection. Thus even after a long time after infection an active immune system is in place.

                  By the same reasoning immunosuppresion of the virus would have the same effect.

                  Outside of my field of biology though.
                  Nobody's arguing that point, but at the moment the only way to achieve that is with the cocktail, which has nasty side effects. Also, the cocktail sometimes stops working for people, requiring them to take other drugs.

                  For now, there have been enough advances in antivirals (the past 15 years or so) to keep rich people in the U.S. alive, but if those advances don't continue, those people will die.

                  I've had a few friends with HIV, and the cocktail for them ran something like $1500 a month. It's very expensive. And that's not including doctor visits, testing and all of that.

                  If we can get a greater understanding of reverse transcriptases, and a greater understanding of retroviruses in general, so that we can modify the body's DNA without cancer causing side effects, that would be a huge win.

                  That way we could probably program the body to produce antiviral enzymes, or some sort of HIV specific reverse transcriptase inhibitors to keep the virus at bay.

                  One possibility as well is producing custom stem cells, which can be inserted in the bone marrow, that produce these compounds or cells.

                  Eventually we could even genetically engineer people with more robust immune systems.

                  We should have no problem fighting HIV in 50-100 years. Right now, this is the dark ages of genetic engineering, however.
                  Last edited by edward; 9/23/2004 4:33pm, .

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Then I have no idea what your point is. The essence of the bbc article is that the immune systems of some individuals are able to work in a like manner.

                    What is your point? Edit: well you expanded on your point. I still fail to see the direct relevance of those comments to comments made earlier.



                    And does anyone know the volume and issue number this was published in? I've had no luck trackign down a pdf of it.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Oh, I should add that the reason the body does not seem to be able to immunosuppress the virus itself, is that the virus attacks the T2 helper cells.

                      So when the body mobilizes an immune response to the virus, the virus attacks the very same cells that are helping mobilize the immune response.

                      When the virus is dormant, like in these guys, they can go for years and years until they have an immune response that requires T2 helper cells, at which time the virus spreads and they go into full blown AIDS.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by Dochter
                        Then I have no idea what your point is. The essence of the bbc article is that the immune systems of some individuals are able to work in a like manner.

                        What is your point? Edit: well you expanded on your point. I still fail to see the direct relevance of those comments to comments made earlier.



                        And does anyone know the volume and issue number this was published in? I've had no luck trackign down a pdf of it.
                        My point is, they only waited for 9 months. We already know that if they don't have a secondary immune system response that requires T2 helper cells, the virus stays in a dormant state within the cells.

                        They need to leave these people off the antivirals and give them some disease that causes a secondary immune response, or at least wait until they have one, and see what the viral load is after that, before they can say that their strategy actually works.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Oh, and the second point is these people seem like dumb-shits, because they show a complete ignorance of the stages of HIV infection.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by edward
                            Plus, the time period in this study (9 months) or whatever is just too short.
                            I agree completely, being a Biology Major myself. I only skimmed through everything but EVERYONE jumps the gun in science these days. Both the media and the scientists, in all honesty I think most scientists are just greedy and want fame, and the media, well we already know about them... It's like martial arts, I feel science might even lose it's legitimacy in 10 to 20 years after it's current hot streak from the late 90s to whenever.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              You know that biology as a field died in the 1960s, right?

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