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AIDS Vaccine Breakthrough 417

Doc Ruby writes "Scientists at Johns Hopkins University in MD, USA announced they've disrupted the means by which HIV stops the immune system from attacking it. From the article: 'Scientists say they have found a way to disarm the AIDS virus in research that could lead to a vaccine. Researchers have discovered that if they eliminate a cholesterol membrane surrounding the virus, HIV cannot disrupt communication among disease-fighting cells and the immune system returns to normal. [...] "By stealing cholesterol from the envelope of the virus, we can neutralize the subversion," said Graham. "We've broken the code; we can shut down the type of interference that HIV is having on the immune system."'"
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AIDS Vaccine Breakthrough

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  • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Sunday September 25, 2011 @10:28AM (#37507804) Journal

    I say several times UNPROTECTED sex. I mention latex explicitly. Was I being that subtle in referring to condoms?

    And the underlying cause in Africa is not sex, it is rape. Mass rape. It is an cultural attitude to women that is getting ever more brutal.

    Read a little about conditions in for instance South Africa before you go all indignant.

  • by sourcerror ( 1718066 ) on Sunday September 25, 2011 @10:55AM (#37507962)

    "Africa is both the epicenter for the disease, and is a poverty-stricken continent where people need to have families, and relatively large ones at that, in order to be taken care of in their old age. These features are sufficient to explain the sustained high infection rate without resorting to the racist twaddle you're apparently peddling. "

    Oh boy, you're so full of bullshit.

    "Medical experts have shown a clear association between HIV exposure and coerced sex. Wives who suffer violence if they request condom use or faithfulness are at higher risk of AIDS than unmarried women and girls. That is why defeating the AIDS pandemic requires a second radical proposition: that African women and girls have the right to protection under their own countries' laws.

    Why is this concept radical? Because public justice systems in many AIDS-burdened countries are broken or virtually inaccessible to poor girls and women. Rape and beatings are simply the norm, and deterrence and accountability for these crimes in Africa is as rare as AIDS drugs used to be." []

    "Rape, including child rape, is increasing at shocking rates in South Africa. Sexual violence against children, including the raping of infants, has increased 400% over the past decade (Dempster, 2002). According to a report by BBC news, a female born in South Africa has a greater chance of being raped in her lifetime than learning how to read (Dempster, 2002). When South Africa became a democracy in 1994, there were already 18,801 cases of rape per year, but by 2001 there were 24,892 (Dempster, 2002). Numbers vary by different institutions, but are nevertheless extremely troubling. The Institute of Race Relations found that more than 52,000 rapes were reported in 2000, and 40% of the victims were under age 18 (du Venage, 2002). The University of South Africa reports that 1 million women and children are raped there each year (South Africa: Focus on the Virgin Myth, 2002)." [] []

    Also, big families don't cause rape, you can't catch an infection from a clean partner no matter how many times you have sex.

  • by DJRumpy ( 1345787 ) on Sunday September 25, 2011 @11:57AM (#37508320)

    This goes beyond simple theories and pipe dreams. This was actively performed in a lab and the process is well documented. This actually pokes holes in the cholesterol membrane using a chemical called beta-cyclodextrin. This chemical binds to this special type of cholesterol around an HIV cell, which had two desired effects. It prevented the HIV virus from hyper-activating PDC's (the mechanism which damages the immune response itself), and it seems it also damaged it's ability to replicate. The chemical actually leaves the membrane riddled with holes due to this binding process.

    This is very promising in that the function they are disrupting is at the very root of what makes HIV effective in avoiding the immune system. Once this happens, the immune system is able to respond to the virus much like it would any other typical pathogen.

    The one thing that wasn't made clear was what the impact will be to those who are already infected. It sounds as if this could potentially be useful to existing infections as well but I haven't seen any statements to that effect as of yet.

  • Re:Real or hype? (Score:4, Informative)

    by JonySuede ( 1908576 ) on Sunday September 25, 2011 @11:59AM (#37508334) Journal
    Here in Canada, they had a working tokamak producing an iota more than it consumed, while in steady state. When they reach that point the gov killed the project. Yes, the net balance was still negative, as it consumed a shit load of energy to get into that state and for some untold reasons, the researchers were not allowed to run it long enough to achieve a positive net balance. The tokamak name was Tokamak de Varennes.
  • by EPAstor ( 933084 ) on Sunday September 25, 2011 @12:01PM (#37508342)
    Wrong breakthrough, I'm sorry to say. That one was an analysis of a protein that all retroviruses (including HIV) have - this one is an actual (albeit in vitro) treatment method. This paper is in a completely different direction, and arguably one step further along its path... and no, FoldIt was not involved in this particular breakthrough. Both are cool, but not the same work.
  • by IICV ( 652597 ) on Sunday September 25, 2011 @01:20PM (#37508756)

    Tell that to Isaac Asimov [], who died due to AIDS caused by a blood transfusion.

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