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Australia Medicine Science

AIDS-Like Virus New Threat To Koala 120

An anonymous reader writes "A virus that may weaken the immune system of koalas, similar to HIV in humans, is a new 'wild card' among threats facing the species and nearly all koalas in the Australian state of Queensland could already be infected."
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AIDS-Like Virus New Threat To Koala

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  • by nadamucho ( 1063238 ) on Friday February 26, 2010 @01:23AM (#31281746)
    I'm pretty sure I know how this all started..
  • by kawabago ( 551139 ) on Friday February 26, 2010 @01:26AM (#31281762)
    Sleep 18 hours a day and eat the rest of the time. If they gambled too they could be my ex!
    • by sopssa ( 1498795 ) *

      No, you're mistaken. Men koalas just sleep, wake up for a bit and decide to go back to sleep. When they finally wake up, they go rape some of the female koalas and afterwards gets high eating eucalyptus, and then gets back to sleep. (it's true, actually)

      Awesome lifestyle, one could say.

  • oh no Drop Bears now with AIDS, even scarier
  • Why? (Score:4, Funny)

    by deniable ( 76198 ) on Friday February 26, 2010 @01:31AM (#31281780)
    Why is it always the Koalas with STDs? First it was chlamydia, now it's this thing. I blame the tourists.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Because it's a cute and furry dick warmer.

    • Re:Why? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by religious freak ( 1005821 ) on Friday February 26, 2010 @01:59AM (#31281914)
      Actually, I recall a video (possibly TED vid, too lazy to look up) which discussed the method by which AIDS likely was first transmitted into humans. It was hypothesized to have actually been transmitted via hunter/gatherers carrying their bloody prey on their backs. Because their backs had abrasions from chasing their future food through trees and growth the infected animal blood was mixed with human blood and voila... AIDS came to humans.

      Let's just hope there aren't too many bloodied aboriginals hunting koalas :)
      • Nah they're busy sipping Tinnies around the camp fire.
      • Re:Why? (Score:5, Funny)

        by Hurricane78 ( 562437 ) <deleted AT slashdot DOT org> on Friday February 26, 2010 @02:51AM (#31282166)

        Yeah, riiight. That’s the excuse I’d have given.
        Doctor: Terrible news. You’re the first human to contract AIDS.
        Patient: How would I have gotten that?
        Doctor: Two ways: One: You were fucking a chimp up the ass.
        Patient: LOL. Pff. Fucking a chimp up the ass... Me? No way. ... How else could I have gotten it?
        Doctor: Oh, you could have carried bloody prey on your back, while your back had abrasio...
        Patient: That one!
        (Credit goes to Ricky Gervais. :) []

      • More likely it was through a human with open wounds butchering bush meat from an infected ape. Animal slaughter in Africa isn't exactly hygienic.

      • by eltaco ( 1311561 )
        do you have a link? I'd be fine with a youtube or ted link or something.. at least something with a citation. I'm no HIV/AIDS expert but to my knowledge AIDS appeared in humans around the late 1960s approx. granted, it could have been transferred via indigenous cultures, that still hunt as their primary source of food.

        I'm stil weary though.

        yeah sorry buddy, you're gonna have to look it up.. :-)
        • Or, you could look it up yourself.. []

          • by eltaco ( 1311561 )
          • by eltaco ( 1311561 )
            oh and I do not grant wiki acedemic status. after you posted that I could've changed half of the info to fit my claims. cite a source that has a reputation to lose (or gain).
            peer review, this is somersault. somersault, meet peer review.
            • Wow, you first state something completely off base without looking it even up, misspell wary, then hypocritically tell people to look stuff up. Then when given a page with a good summary with 47 citations - most from peer reviewed sources, you get snarky and complain about lack of peer reviewed sources.. perhaps you should think for a while about whether you really want people to think you're that much of an asshole.

            • Quote yourself: "I'd be fine with a youtube or ted link or something."

              So you'd be fine with a youtube or ted link, but not wikipedia? That makes no sense, sounds more like backpedalling to me.

      • Well, that's a lot more palatable than my "monkey sex" hypothesis.
  • by Cimexus ( 1355033 ) on Friday February 26, 2010 @01:44AM (#31281838)

    Does anyone else feel mildly offended every time they see that stupid hat icon they use for Australian stories now? I mean seriously ... is this a serious news site? It'd be like using a picture of Speedy Gonzales for Mexican stories, or a fat man with a mustache saying "mamma mia!" for Italian ones.

    • by AuMatar ( 183847 ) on Friday February 26, 2010 @01:47AM (#31281860)

      I agree. It should be a giant knife. And the mouseover should say "That's not a knife. This is a knife."

    • by dakameleon ( 1126377 ) on Friday February 26, 2010 @01:50AM (#31281872)

      is this a serious news site?

      Is this a serious news site? How long exactly have you been coming to Slashdot, mate?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      they still use a demonized picture of bill gates for microsoft stories...

      which is worse, personalized corporate attacks long after the person has left the corporation, or generalized cultural observations? or isn't there a difference?

      • Good point. Although at least Bill Gates has (had) something to do with Microsoft. That hat has little to do with Australia outside of a bad 80s movie which seems to be 100x more well-known in the US than Australia itself ;)

        • Have you been to Country Australia? Or even the Outback? They are quite a popular article of clothing. Mandatory if you have a Dri 'z' bone, as no hoods on those things. An Akubra is both water proof and also good to keep the sun off your face/neck.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Cimexus ( 1355033 )

            Ahh, but Australia is one of the most urbanised countries on earth (measured by proportion of population living in large metro areas). Far more so than most of Europe, or the US and Canada.

            So although I'm quite aware that an Akubra is a pretty essential thing to have if you live on the land, all I'm really saying is that using it as an icon representing the country as a whole smacks of stereotyping. It just irritates me Americans just seem to instantly think of a 30 year old movie as the first thing that co

            • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

              by Chees0rz ( 1194661 )
              I had a great conversation in a bar with an Aussie tourist. He picked up his shit and just decided to drive around the West Coast. We talked about stereotypes... he was amazed that kids picked up summer jobs when in school out here, because television/movies just showed kids raising while class was out... not working. He also had some messed up views of american football and what we do for sports in HS.

              It goes both ways!
              • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

                by Anonymous Coward

                I thought it was a well known fact that American football is messed up?

                Now Australian Football... a sport of kings. :p

              • by eltaco ( 1311561 )
                yeah, he probably though you were talking about rugger.
            • going to remove my Australian stereotype of a tuff guy that can live of the land and moving it to just the typical whiner not much different than what we have here in the US.

            • I used to work with a bunch of Aussies. My image of them is of a fun-loving group that has fun five work hours a day and then in the remaining three hours of work outperforms everyone else actually working eight hours a day.

              Man, I miss those guys.

            • Hey! You dang Aussies better just be happy we didn't drop a damned A bomb on your asses after you let that damned Yahoo Serious loose like a plague upon the land! What the hell did we ever do to you? Didn't we help keep the Japs from invading your ass in WW II? And that is how you repay our kindness? Did you even WATCH Young Einstein? God that thing was fucking awful!

              The only reason we spared your asses after dropping that stink bomb is you did give us Mad Max, one of the best damned pieces of cinema to e

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by fuzzix ( 700457 )

              It just irritates me Americans just seem to instantly think of a 30 year old movie as the first thing that comes to mind when they think of Australia

              And that's the point, it's a useful piece of iconography on an American site to make 'em go "Australia". It's like having pictures on a menu so the unlettered folk can point at the food they'd like and grunt "four".

              I don't think there's an icon for Ireland but if there was, what would it be? Text now and win a prize!

              Text "A" for: A Leprechaun!
              Text "B" for: A Shamrock!
              Text "C" for: Government corruption and petty revenge!
              Text "D" for: A bishop covering up a priest's sexual abuse of altar boys!

              ENTER NOW!

            • by Nobo ( 606465 ) on Friday February 26, 2010 @10:20AM (#31284616)

              It just irritates me Americans just seem to instantly think of a 30 year old movie as the first thing that comes to mind when they think of Australia ... It's like they know nothing else about the place, except that.

              Speaking as an American, I think you may be underestimating us. We also know about Outback Steakhouse.

          • by deniable ( 76198 )
            You know Akubra is a brand and not a type of hat. Some of them [] go well with suits.
        • i agree that popular opinion should not justify anything... but if that hat says "austrailia" 100x more than anything else, is it irresponsible not to use it?

          i get more offended when people ask questions in the negative sense... like "you didn't wear the dundee hat?"... popular opinion says that the response "no" means "i did not wear the hat" while logic says that the response "yes" would also mean "i did not wear the hat".

          people adapt to other people, and some people are dumb.

      • they still use a demonized picture of bill gates for microsoft stories...

        which is worse, personalized corporate attacks long after the person has left the corporation

        What? Since when do peoples actions magically get absolved the moment they change jobs? By your logic, if Hitler had merely changed jobs instead of committing suicide, then voila, it would no longer be reasonable to "demonize" him. Not that I'm comparing Bill Gates to Hitler, but nonetheless Bill Gates earned his bad reputation quite deservedly.

        • ??? you certainly did just compare bill gates to hitler.

          perhaps the only difference is a few million dead jews.

        • also, i never said it wasn't ever reasonable to demonize him... i just asked the reader to think about it. the fact that you assumed that from my question says a lot about your motives. some people hold bill gates reputation in high regard.
        • What? Since when do peoples actions magically get absolved the moment they change jobs? By your logic, if Hitler had merely changed jobs instead of committing suicide, then voila, it would no longer be reasonable to "demonize" him.

          just so you understand "my logic", (and perhaps logic in general..), consider this: if the nazis were never stopped, continuing today with their genocide under a new dictator, would it make more sense to attack the currently operating organization using individuals or symbols currently in use by the organization, or to attack an individual no longer serving in a leadership role?

          not that i'm comparing the nazis to microsoft...

    • I agree, the hat doesn't even have corks on strings!
    • I like the hat, although I think a Didgeridoo [] would be more appropriate(hats are everywhere).

      But if they were to use an igloo for Canada, I would be deeply offended.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by SEE ( 7681 )

      I agree, they should use the Australian flag [], with the traditional boot kicking a bare arse.

    • And by that I mean the stereotype that Australians are easy going people who don't take themselves too seriously.
    • by TRRosen ( 720617 )

      Would you rather have a picture of Yahoo Serious?

    • No. Next question?

    • by khallow ( 566160 )

      Does anyone else feel mildly offended every time they see that stupid hat icon they use for Australian stories now?

      No. All that is Australia seems pretty easy to sum up with a gator hat. With a much more complicated state like the US, I think you might need two such symbols to properly sum up the country, maybe an American flag flapping in the breeze to represent the deep patriotic side and a huge bling ring that says "BLING" in diamond studded font so that you know that this ten ounce ring is a bling ring and not some other kind of ring. Educational and ostentatious at the same time. That's American too.

    • Does anyone else feel mildly offended every time they see that stupid hat icon they use for Australian stories now?

      Would you prefer a banana hammock?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 26, 2010 @01:48AM (#31281866)


    • now we to can have those nut bag baptists. they can wave signs infront of the zoo stating "thank god for aids" and "aids kills gay animals"
    • by dasunt ( 249686 )


      Silly. That's what they *want* you to think.

      This is really due to a vast CIA conspiracy to promote the sales of big pharm.

  • Who fucked the Koala?

    And you should have used protection -- that Koala's a whore!

  • Dont worry (Score:1, Troll)

    by clampolo ( 1159617 )
    Only the gay koalas are in danger
  • apparently (Score:1, Redundant)

    by brennz ( 715237 )
    Koals don't know how to use condoms
  • apparently (Score:1, Redundant)

    by brennz ( 715237 )
    Koalas don't know how to use condoms
  • That God hates gay koalas

  • I think it is time to introduce...

    KONDOMS ...condoms custom tailored for Kualas !!!

  • Relax, koala-lovers (Score:5, Interesting)

    by srussia ( 884021 ) on Friday February 26, 2010 @03:16AM (#31282298)
    The only HIV-like aspect of the virus is that it is a retrovirus. It may even be harmless. BTW, does anyone have data on the prevalence of non-HIV retroviruses in humans?
    • The virus involved is not completely harmless- according to the cited Nature article, it is associated with leukemia, and possibly increased susceptibility to other infections . However, it doesn't sound at all like KoRV represents the sort of threat that HIV poses in humans. HIV infection is a direct threat to the immune system since it uses the glycoprotein CD4 to gain entry into cells, and it happens that the cells covered with CD4 are essential to the immune system. HIV isn't dangerous just because i
  • by Korin43 ( 881732 )
    I don't really see the big deal. The only reason AIDS is a problem is because we tend to feel bad when a large portion of our population dies off. This is bears (ok, bear-like animals) in Australia, natural selection will sort it out.
  • "Update: BoardTracker recently replaced its spiders with Koalas.." []

  • Um ... a "friend" of mine wants to know. Can it be passed to humans. Just out of curiosity ... yes of course it is. Oh and what are the early symptoms/
  • Retro is cool (Score:5, Informative)

    by MightyDrunken ( 1171335 ) on Friday February 26, 2010 @05:24AM (#31282866)

    The nature article [] to the news story seems very interesting. As retroviruses have to integrate themselves into the cells genome to replicate, if the retrovirus infects a germline cell the virus can become incorporated into the animals genome and passed to their offspring. This seems to be already happening with this virus and it gives a chance to study the process in action.

    About 8% [] of our genome is probably from ancient viruses which "invaded" our genome millions of years ago. Generally they become deactivated by mutation but they have been implicated in the growth of mammal embryos and the placenta. It would be pretty cool if the placenta, a defining feature of most of the mammals is due to a virus!

  • Give the Koala's sex-education, hand out condoms and demonize gay sex, because it's for teh gays...
  • Yeah one had sex with a monkey then it spread... duh!
  • All right, I've HAD it! Who's been buggering the poor, cute little koalas?
  • How long before someone gets the bright idea to put their thing in that hole,
    and start a whole new cross species aids problem.
    Was the last time in Africa with baboons?

Honesty is for the most part less profitable than dishonesty. -- Plato