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Medicine

13-Year-Old Finds Fungus Deadly To AIDS Patients Growing On Trees 134

Posted by samzenpus
from the nature-not-nurture dept.
An anonymous reader writes Researchers have pinpointed the environmental source of fungal infections that have been sickening HIV/AIDS patients in Southern California for decades. It literally grows on trees. The discovery is based on the science project of a 13-year-old girl, who spent the summer gathering soil and tree samples from areas around Los Angeles hardest hit by infections of the fungus named Cryptococcus gattii.
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13-Year-Old Finds Fungus Deadly To AIDS Patients Growing On Trees

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 25, 2014 @08:44AM (#47747167)
    Thirteen year olds have access to the results of genetic testing and do basic analysis on them. The tools that are available for people to do science is amazing. It is a good time to be alive. Now if we could only find a way to convince the politicians and parents to let teachers share these insights without forcing students to sit in chairs and be lectured at all day.
  • by i kan reed (749298) on Monday August 25, 2014 @08:49AM (#47747213) Homepage Journal

    Yeah, it's people who have AIDS that spread it, not people with asymptomatic HIV, right?

    I mean, I get that you're just trying to be funny by being a shitty person, but could you pretend to be a shitty person who also isn't completely ignorant?

  • by i kan reed (749298) on Monday August 25, 2014 @08:55AM (#47747277) Homepage Journal

    Tenured professors at universities get their names on papers for less work than that.

  • by king neckbeard (1801738) on Monday August 25, 2014 @09:02AM (#47747329)
    Except that killing off people with a disease tends to make people who have the disease a good bit quieter about it, which is harmful to eradication. If you want to throw down blame, it would be those that didn't do anything to stop it because it was a disease that seemed to only affect socially undesirably groups.
  • by i kan reed (749298) on Monday August 25, 2014 @09:05AM (#47747365) Homepage Journal

    "our" [cdc.gov] methods have caused huge reductions in new infections. Your methods at work in places in subsaharan Africa(until recently at least) have led to ignorance, violence, and huge spikes in infections as people try to home remedy HIV away.

  • by orlanz (882574) on Monday August 25, 2014 @09:24AM (#47747509)

    Assuming that society takes the moral hit and people buy into the concept by not hiding their infections from testing (basically society as a whole accepts self-sacrifice based on a test)...

    Most infectious type of people are not discovered till it is too late. This is a very slow virus. You could be a carrier for months to years and be a vector without showing up positive in a test. Killing off an AIDS victim is kind of pointless, for the virus, the host is well past the diminishing returns curve. Even one that has tested positive for HIV.

    Even if you do find and kill off every HIV patient, it won't kill off the virus. Its origins are from other mammals (this version being chimps). Unless you intend to kill everything that has this virus or a potential parent of it. At which point you would also start targeting other currently non-lethal immune system attacking viruses.

    So the road above is fairly stupid, comes primarily from ignorance & fear, and in the end, doesn't work. If people don't commit to killing themselves based on a test, the above will actually make the HIV/AIDS situation worse as it will go underground.

    The better solution is to let the people live and use them to find a cure. This way, we not only solve the current situation, but also similar mutations in the future. By letting people live, we have already discovered some folks who are immune to AIDS!

  • by Mike Buddha (10734) on Monday August 25, 2014 @11:24AM (#47748717)

    Since when is collecting samples and cataloging them not hard science? Not particularly difficult, but most definitely hard science.

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