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AIDS Virus Now Estimated To Be 100 Years Old

timothy posted about 6 years ago | from the younger-than-harley-davidson dept.

Medicine 316

ChazeFroy writes "A new study estimates that the AIDS virus, HIV, started to circulate in the human population between 1884 and 1924, with a more focused estimate at 1908. This is much earlier than the previously-held estimate of 1930. 'The new result is "not a monumental shift, but it means the virus was circulating under our radar even longer than we knew," says Michael Worobey of the University of Arizona, an author of the new work.' The article also speculates that HIV first began to spread in Kinshasa, Congo."

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FIST SPORT (-1, Troll)

ringbarer (545020) | about 6 years ago | (#25222317)

Niggers fuck Monkeys. White Sluts fuck Niggers.

And Shit-stabbers fuck everything.

Re:FIST SPORT (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25222387)

Truly, truly insightful.

My only regret is that I have no mod points left.

Re:FIST SPORT (0, Offtopic)

g0bshiTe (596213) | about 6 years ago | (#25222745)

True I'd have modded him + points simply for not posting AC.

Re:FIST SPORT (3, Funny)

Spatial (1235392) | about 6 years ago | (#25222795)

Haha, look at his comment history.

Re:FIST SPORT (0, Offtopic)

g0bshiTe (596213) | about 6 years ago | (#25223371)

LMFAO, that's too good.

Re:FIST SPORT (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25224175)

HAHA, look at spatial's comment history. When you are done with that, look at what he really thinks of Slashdot and everyone on here with this comment. [slashdot.org] You can tell just by one simple comment he shills for M$. It wouldn't surprise me if M$ hired him to attemp to crash Slashdot. Nothing to worry about as M$ shills can't use their brain to do any thinking. M$ shills are Windoze and non-free software addicts.

--

Friends don't help friends install M$ junk.
Friends do assist M$ addicted friends in committing suicide.

Re:FIST SPORT (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25222775)

Look: Large pharmaceutical companies used monkeys to make vaccines... & DOUBTLESS, some simians that were infected w/ the then called HTLV-III RETROVIRUS (OTHERWISE NOW KNOWN AS HIV)

http://www.google.com/search?q=aids+hoax (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25222359)

http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=aids+hoax

Re:http://www.google.com/search?q=aids+hoax (2, Insightful)

Gwala (309968) | about 6 years ago | (#25223861)

Spreading junk like that should really be a heinous crime. The idiots who believe that end up putting everyone else at greater risk.

Wait, what? (5, Insightful)

DurendalMac (736637) | about 6 years ago | (#25222365)

But I thought it was made back in the 60/70s to wipe out gay and black people! You mean it wasn't the government or the Jews that did it? /loony

Re:Wait, what? (4, Interesting)

mcgrew (92797) | about 6 years ago | (#25222803)

I'm skeptical. How could a disease with such a long incubation period not be recognized for over a century? It's not like needles or anal sex were invented in 1965. And then in a period of a few years become a worldwide epidemic? Yeah, I RTFA but I'm not buying the "city" hypothesis; it's not like people in the country don't have anal sex.

Two notes though, the first serious and the second humorous (humoroidous).

When I was in Thailand in the USAF from Aug. 1973 to Aug 1974, there were rumors of a sexually transmitted disease that was being hushed up by the government. The rumor had it that this disease was fatal and had no cure, and if you caught it you would be transferred to Guam and never heard from again. Most of us dismissed these rumors as government propaganda to keep us away from the whores or at least to get us to use condoms (penicillin isn't free) but when AIDS came around in 1981 (killing "free sex" and having women not come up to you asking you "wanna fuck?", damned AIDS!) I started to wonder if the rumor might have been true.

Secondly, a wag I worked with when AIDS started in 1981 said AIDS was an acronym for "Anal Intercourse Death Syndrome". It really isn't an STD but a blood-borne disease, more easily transmitted by blood transfusions, dirty needles, and sex that tears into the flesh. It's damned hard for a man to catch it having sex with a woman unless the sex is anal or while she's on her period, particularly if he's been circumcised.

Re:Wait, what? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25223099)

I'm skeptical. How could a disease with such a long incubation period not be recognized for over a century? It's not like needles or anal sex were invented in 1965. And then in a period of a few years become a worldwide epidemic? Yeah, I RTFA but I'm not buying the "city" hypothesis; it's not like people in the country don't have anal sex.

It was an order of magnitude difference. Many of the sexual histories of the initial cases in San Francisco had hundreds of sexual contacts per year. Typical bathhouse sexual encounters numbered over 5 per night per person. One case history example is that Gaëtan Dugas claimed to have had 2500 sexual encounters in his life. These types of numbers don't occur in the country. Additionally, country sex is less anonymous and more often with the same partner. Most of the bathhouse encounters were with different people.

Re:Wait, what? (2, Interesting)

R2.0 (532027) | about 6 years ago | (#25223573)

In another post I mentioned the 2 competing theories of the disease, behavioral and infectious agent, and how the latter "won". The interesting part is that the treatment model that accompanied the behavioral theory - i.e. "stop fucking people you aren't married/monogamous with" - would have had a BETTER societal outcome than the current treatment model. Right now we have lifetime drug therapy and HIV infection has transitioned from "acute" to "chronic", and researchers have noted that the incidence of casual and unprotected sex in increasing because HIV infection is being viewed not as a fatal disease but as a manageble condition. Great for drug companies; but perhaps not so great for society at large.

Re:Wait, what? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25223743)

I know where you are coming from and I hope you fuck off and die. I heard this crap enough in the 80s when the government didn't want to acknowledge that AIDS was a disease (until of course, young white women started getting sick). Most diseases are behavioral issues. If you don't congregate with a lot of people and wash your hands regularly, your chance of getting the flu is negligible. If you don't go somewhere where there are a shitload of mosquitos, your chance of getting malaria is zip. If you use fresh water, you probably won't get cholera. And if your brush your teeth, you will drastically reduce your chance of getting gingivitis.

This isn't particularly notable. And nobody is claiming that we shouldn't find the primary agents to fight these diseases when they occur. They only say that about AIDS. My point above wasn't to help you thump your neo-conservative chest. It was to point out the history of the disease. Your point, in contrast, was to blame the victims.

Re:Wait, what? (0, Offtopic)

mcgrew (92797) | about 6 years ago | (#25224177)

The interesting part is that the treatment model that accompanied the behavioral theory - i.e. "stop fucking people you aren't married/monogamous with

The trouble is that not all of us can find a monogamous partner. I was faithful to my wife for 27 years, yet it wasn't a monogamous relationship; she's an adulterous slut (at least she was until she got unfuckably fat and ugly). Three years of celebacy after my divorce (she left me for an unemployed auto mechanic) had me banging hookers - it's the only way an ass burger nerd like me can get laid.

That's what I have against gay "marriage"; marriage isn't a right. It's legal for gays to marry, it's just illegal to marry someone of your own sex. I can no more find a suitable woman to marry than if I were gay.

Re:Wait, what? (5, Insightful)

smellsofbikes (890263) | about 6 years ago | (#25223409)

Not to be snide, but:
>How could a disease with such a long incubation period not be recognized for over a century?

I think you've answered your own question.

All you need is for the disease symptoms to take longer to show up than the average lifespan of the victims and you have a basically invisible disease.
Add doctors' general unwillingness to put 'cause of death: unknown' on death certificates, and put your disease in a place where young death from other diseases -- particularly cholera, yellow fever, and smallpox -- was completely rampant, and you have everything you need to make a disease run for fifty years invisibly.
In 1910, there were still widely-respected doctors arguing that bad air was responsible for malaria and yellow fever. The idea that a viral infection could stay latent for 15 years after contraction was completely out of their experience.

Re:Wait, what? (4, Insightful)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | about 6 years ago | (#25223621)

Add doctors' general unwillingness to put 'cause of death: unknown' on death certificates, and put your disease in a place where young death from other diseases -- particularly cholera, yellow fever, and smallpox --

Actually, the cause of death wasn't unknown. They very clearly died of cholera/yellow fever/smallpox, and the patient had always been rather sickly. The doctors just didn't realize that there was a disease that caused the patient to be sickly all those years.

Re:Wait, what? (5, Insightful)

archen (447353) | about 6 years ago | (#25223731)

I'm skeptical. How could a disease with such a long incubation period not be recognized for over a century

Keep in mind that AIDS doesn't actually kill you. Your immune system is defeated by AIDS and something else kills you. If you have the flu (which can be fatal), then die, the conclusion would probably be that the person died of the flu instead of that their immune system was compromised by some virus that stays dormant for years. Then add onto that the medical technology of the period, and what it was in Africa at that time.

Re:Wait, what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25223859)

i would say thats because of social behaviour changes

[according to an unreliable source - my brother] blow jobs were `only` performed by prostitutes before ~1980, and that couples would usually only do head ~4-8 years after intercourse -- nowadays it is common to do head before intercourse

Re:Wait, what? (2, Funny)

4D6963 (933028) | about 6 years ago | (#25223907)

I'm skeptical. How could a disease with such a long incubation period not be recognized for over a century? It's not like needles or anal sex were invented in 1965. And then in a period of a few years become a worldwide epidemic? Yeah, I RTFA but I'm not buying the "city" hypothesis; it's not like people in the country don't have anal sex.

Thank you Slashdot non-expert for debunking the whole story thanks to wild guesses about the rate of propagation of STDs in the Congolese countryside!

Re:Wait, read much? (1, Interesting)

megamerican (1073936) | about 6 years ago | (#25222807)

Please don't mark this as troll or flamebait. It is a serious post about a serious topic.

I'm guessing you've never done any research on the subject.

You've probably never read Dr. Len Horowitz's book Emerging Viruses: AIDS And Ebola : Nature, Accident or Intentional? [amazon.com]

You've probably never read NSSM 200 [population-security.org] signed by Henry Kissinger where it states that the third world population is a national security threat to the US.

You may not have seen documents from the Congressional Record [apfn.org] where people discuss creating "a synthetic biological agent, an agent that does not naturally exist and for which no natural immunity could have been acquired."

2. Within the next 5 to 10 years, it would probably be possible to make a new infective microorganism which could differ in certain important aspects from any known disease-causing organisms. Most important of these is that it might be refractory to the immunological and therapeutic processes upon when we depend to maintain our relative freedom from infectious disease.

Or maybe you haven't read about the 1000's of times [whatreallyhappened.com] our government has tested biologicals, chemicals, radiologicals on its own citizens.

You also might want to read the law [findlaw.com] that allows the government to experiment on its own citizens just about anytime it wants.

(b) Exceptions
            Subject to subsections (c), (d), and (e) of this section, the
        prohibition in subsection (a) of this section does not apply to a
        test or experiment carried out for any of the following purposes:
                (1) Any peaceful purpose that is related to a medical,
            therapeutic, pharmaceutical, agricultural, industrial, or
            research activity.
                (2) Any purpose that is directly related to protection against
            toxic chemicals or biological weapons and agents.
                (3) Any law enforcement purpose, including any purpose related
            to riot control.

In 2000 The Project for a New American Century [newamericancentury.org] (PNAC) wrote a paper called Rebuilding America's Defenses. It talked about using race specific bioweapons as a useful tool.

advanced forms of biological warfare that can 'target' specific genotypes may transform biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful tool.

PNAC is filled with top Bush administration officials, including Dick Cheney.
If you don't like any of my sources you are free to use google or any other source to verify that what I've said is true.

Re:Wait, read much? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25223171)

I am intrigued by your ideas and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

Re:Wait, read much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25223197)

Please don't mark this as troll or flamebait.

Indeed, "funny" is far more appropriate.

Re:Wait, read much? (5, Informative)

R2.0 (532027) | about 6 years ago | (#25223243)

You also might want to read the law that allows the government to experiment on its own citizens just about anytime it wants.

(b) Exceptions
                        Subject to subsections (c), (d), and (e) of this section, the
                prohibition in subsection (a) of this section does not apply to a
                test or experiment carried out for any of the following purposes:
                                (1) Any peaceful purpose that is related to a medical,
                        therapeutic, pharmaceutical, agricultural, industrial, or
                        research activity.
                                (2) Any purpose that is directly related to protection against
                        toxic chemicals or biological weapons and agents.
                                (3) Any law enforcement purpose, including any purpose related
                        to riot control.

You might have quoted Sections C and D which are referenced:

(c) Informed consent required
            The Secretary of Defense may conduct a test or experiment
        described in subsection (b) of this section only if informed
        consent to the testing was obtained from each human subject in
        advance of the testing on that subject.
        (d) Prior notice to Congress
            Not later than 30 days after the date of final approval within
        the Department of Defense of plans for any experiment or study to
        be conducted by the Department of Defense (whether directly or
        under contract) involving the use of human subjects for the testing
        of a chemical agent or a biological agent, the Secretary of Defense
        shall submit to the Committee on Armed Services of the Senate and
        the Committee on Armed Services of the House of Representatives a
        report setting forth a full accounting of those plans, and the
        experiment or study may then be conducted only after the end of the
        30-day period beginning on the date such report is received by
        those committees.

Hardly "just about anytime it wants". So what else did you cherry pick from your other cites?

Re:Wait, read much? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25223323)

Actually, those parts were added later. Initially it was only parts A and B. When it was discovered by the free press, the government quickly put in parts C and D and claimed that they were included all along. This is a fact, not a conspiracy.

Re:Wait, read much? (1)

a whoabot (706122) | about 6 years ago | (#25223441)

Aren't there samples from before 1969 when that "within the next 5 to 10 years" Senate testimony was made that have HIV within them? In fact, from TFA:

"Key to the new work was the discovery of an HIV sample that had been taken from a woman in Kinshasa in 1960. It was only the second such sample to be found from before 1976; the other was from 1959, also from Kinshasa."

Re:Wait, read much? (2, Insightful)

jollyreaper (513215) | about 6 years ago | (#25223521)

Morally, I don't doubt that people like Kissinger would want to invent and employ a death plague to kill off all the poor people. This seems like exactly the sort of thing that they would fantasize about while touching themselves late at night.

My biggest beef with that theory is that I don't think we're anywhere near the ability to invent such diseases. Certainly if sekrit goverment scientists could invent it, other scientists not involved in the conspiracy would end up sussing out clues. To make a bit of a leap, the a-bomb was well-known as a theoretical possibility in the 30's. There had been little cause to develop one before the rising military crisis but world events caused leading physicists to begin thinking exactly along those lines. So British physicists knew what American and German physicists were working on, what the state of the art was, and the likelihood that a program could be put together to make the bomb happen. Because of this, when the first bombs were dropped over Japan, civilians with a scientific interest were able to recognize it for what it was. (this comes from accounts of the bomb I've read. The observer thought that an a-bomb was still futuristic like rocket ships and ray guns but could offer no other explanation for the scope of the devastation from a single bomb.)

So the point I'm getting at is if we're able to custom-build viruses, certainly civilian virologists would know about it and there would be signatures of artificial origin, things to indicate that it did not evolve from the natural chimp virus. After all, we can tell wild antrhax from weaponized anthrax.

I just find it too hard to believe that we could have the technology to invent something like this and nobody else could figure it out, no scientists involved with the creation got cold feet, etc. It seems too James Bondian.

Re:Wait, read much? (5, Insightful)

R2.0 (532027) | about 6 years ago | (#25223645)

"I just find it too hard to believe that we could have the technology to invent something like this and nobody else could figure it out, no scientists involved with the creation got cold feet, etc. It seems too James Bondian."

Can you prove the Government DIDN'T custom build AIDS? No? Well there you go - the theory is fully supported.

Conspiracy Paradox (2, Interesting)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 6 years ago | (#25223771)

I just find it too hard to believe that we could have the technology to invent something like this and nobody else could figure it out, no scientists involved with the creation got cold feet, etc. It seems too James Bondian.

And that we'd have that technology at least 40 years ago, but still aren't able to do so in a lab today. If you wanted to argue that _today_ a government lab had the tools to build a virus, then you might be stretching the realm of plausibility.

Oh, hey, maybe we'll use the Roswell time machine soon to bring AIDS back to kill victim classes - I guess I didn't think that one through all the way. Oh, but it already exists, so there's no need to build it before we use the time machine. Damn, Conspiracy Paradox.

So you think the government made AIDS in the 70s? (3, Funny)

Dr. Spork (142693) | about 6 years ago | (#25223559)

Did they make it in Area 51, where the moon landings were staged? It makes sense!

Only one small problem with your theory: How do the Illuminati fit in with this, and what about Kennedy? Until you resolve these two gaps in your theory, I'm afraid I won't be able to give it my full credence.

Re:So you think the government made AIDS in the 70 (1)

jeffasselin (566598) | about 6 years ago | (#25224051)

Don't forget Casaubon's Law:

"Any conspiracy theory must include the Knights Templar"

Re:Wait, read much? (5, Insightful)

Shirakawasuna (1253648) | about 6 years ago | (#25223769)

You cite Horowitz as a reliable source? Have you ever even heard the man speak? Anyone with *any* rudimentary knowledge of HIV can see through his BS, when they're not laughing at his ignorance and fearing that people will actually listen to him. Just to see what happens what happens when an undergraduate science student can do with his ignorance, when he isn't acting like a raving lunatic, check Infidel Guy's interview with him and SA Smith: http://media.libsyn.com/media/infidelguy/Show14_Origins_of_HIV.mp3 [libsyn.com]

I'm not interested in the inevitable flamewar of debunking each and every one of Horowitz's unsubstantiated rants, but let's just start at some basics hints: the guy sells trinkets and water, a certified kook deluding people, quite likely away from real, effective treatments for HIV. Oh, and it doesn't stop with HIV, he's full-blown antivaccinationist. If anyone is further interested, you can easily go out there and read the many takedowns or hey, I don't know, actually read up on HIV itself and have a truly educated opinion!

Re:Wait, read much? (1)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | about 6 years ago | (#25223789)

Yeah, I think "Fringe" is a cool show too.

Re:Wait, read much? (1)

Shirakawasuna (1253648) | about 6 years ago | (#25223899)

I suppose it's too much to ask that you read and understand the law you're citing as well? The subsection (c) referenced clearly requires informed consent for *every* one of those exceptions. So no, not "just about anytime it wants", certainly not legally. The government, however, has been exposed for doing illegal experiments without informed consent before and we must be ever watchful of their activities.

Re:Wait, read much? (0, Redundant)

Shirakawasuna (1253648) | about 6 years ago | (#25224085)

If this is a serious post about a serious topic, there's some serious delusion going on right here. Who thought it was a good idea to trust Horowitz? I can't seem to find my previous comment, but anyone interested in seeing how much smoke an antivaccinationist lunatic selling trinkets and water can blow to convince ignorant but well-meaning people into hurting themselves and their children, just go to his website. Or read what he's written and compare it to the reality of the situation, how HIV works, how vaccines work, how he distorts facts to inflate dangers and assign blame. Anyone with rudimentary knowledge of HIV and statistics can see the flaws in his argumentation, but if you're still interesting there's some easy things and some hard things you can do.

Easy things would be listening to what experts on the subjects have to say about him, people who have done actual lab work and put in the time studying to understand these things. Or you could listen to the "debate" on the Infidel Guy Show between him and SA Smith where the irrational, non-sequitur anger rises up multiple times. The hard thing would be actually learning about HIV itself, but it would also give you the knowledge necessary to speak in an informed matter on the topic and not have to make the oh-so-hard decision of believing scores of scientists from various fields versus a patent medicine quack.

Re:Wait, what? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25223603)

Actually, it was the Gay Nigger Association of America.

Why they would want to wipe out gays and black people, I do not know.

Re:Wait, what? (0, Troll)

master5o1 (1068594) | about 6 years ago | (#25223727)

no no this is just another cover-up story to try and make people forget about that and so that people can try to trust the government or jews a bit more

What new diseases have crossed over recently? (5, Interesting)

davidwr (791652) | about 6 years ago | (#25222381)

It took over 70 years for HIV to be named.

What diseases that crossed the species barrier in the last 30 years will we be talking about in 2078?

Re:What new diseases have crossed over recently? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25222445)

davidwr's disease!

Also known as /.itis (4, Funny)

davidwr (791652) | about 6 years ago | (#25222481)

I walked right into that one.

Re:Also known as /.itis (5, Funny)

MightyYar (622222) | about 6 years ago | (#25222731)

I walked right into that one.

Don't do that! That's how you get davidwr's disease!

Re:Also known as /.itis (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25223193)

Only if you're walking backwards.

Re:Also known as /.itis (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25223519)

Davidwr's Disease is the cancer that's killing Slashdot!

Re:Also known as /.itis Not something we'd want (1)

davidsyes (765062) | about 6 years ago | (#25223649)

to say "Happy Birthday" to.

As for "Crossing Over" I... I.. I.. can SENSE a ... FEELING... (tilting head back, eyelids fluttering, arms up Kirk/Jesus/Charleton Heston-like) Where ARE YOU NOW?! I.. i.. i sense you there... you're ... you're shaped like a STRAND.... Yes, like a helix... sinewing through my system, coursing through my mortal veins... I... i.. i.. think we've met before...

Re:What new diseases have crossed over recently? (3, Informative)

moderatorrater (1095745) | about 6 years ago | (#25222465)

Obviously the QDP virus, and the OVB bacterium will have mutated by that point as well. Of course, after our bout with AFLP in 2048, we'll be much better equipped to deal with them, even with the smaller population. Overall, 2078 will be seen as a time when we've mostly re-conquered disease.

Re:What new diseases have crossed over recently? (1)

R2.0 (532027) | about 6 years ago | (#25222763)

I'm just going to assume the "Informative" mod is meta humor. It's either that or despair for the human race.

Re:What new diseases have crossed over recently? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25223809)

Argh, I hate my browser. It wrapped your text right between "Overall, 2078 will be seen as a time" and "when we've...".

Skimming your post, I was full of anticipation that 2078 was going to be seen as a time of the desktop Linux.

At least less sick days means more time for coding (or less free time for coding)....

Re:What new diseases have crossed over recently? (1)

philspear (1142299) | about 6 years ago | (#25222519)

Miss Cleo says ebola. I'm stocking up on gas masks, spam, and guns, but after hearing that I'm also going to be stocking up on orange juice. Figure that'll be good for if I catch it.

Re:What new diseases have crossed over recently? (2, Funny)

HTH NE1 (675604) | about 6 years ago | (#25223153)

I'm stocking up on gas masks, spam, and guns, but after hearing that I'm also going to be stocking up on orange juice. Figure that'll be good for if I catch it.

Pinky: Ahoy Brain. We're almost out of spam, but there's a bunch of gelatine in here with bits of spam stuck to it. Do you want any?
Brain: [vomiting]
Pinky: Right, I'll save you some then. Zort!

Re:What new diseases have crossed over recently? (1)

davidsyes (765062) | about 6 years ago | (#25223707)

Miss Cleo? Hell, she couldn't even see the IRS coming to pat(ra) her ass down... So much for her predictions.

Now, if janjaweed is a cure for drug-related pains or pangs...

Re:What new diseases have crossed over recently? (5, Funny)

Bloater (12932) | about 6 years ago | (#25222801)

the GPL

Re:What new diseases have crossed over recently? (4, Interesting)

hey! (33014) | about 6 years ago | (#25223073)

Probably quite a few.

One of the big killers in worldwide mortality statistics (after HIV and malaria) is, if I recall, "acute respiratory infection", which includes just about anything that didn't get an official diagnosis other than the obvious fact the person died of some kind of lung infection. That probably contains countless infectious agents as yet unknown to science.

Infectious agents often develop a kind of symbiotic relationship with their host populations. They are tolerated by the populations, but they are deadly to immunologically naive populations. Move into to take over another population's niche, and you must endure ordeal by disease.

Emerging diseases will be a major story throughout this century, mark my words. As people move into previously "pestilential" habitats, as climate change disrupts and displaces populations, we'll be seeing a lot more the likes of HIV, bird flu, and Ebola (which is probably the least dangerous of the three in a public health sense).

Now is the time for a new Apollo program, but in the biological sciences. Now is the time to pick a family of viruses, like influenza, and learn to attack it, not just by public health and immunization measures, but directly through its genetic, biochemical and biological characteristics. This would not only be of great practical benefit, it would prepare us for new agents, or new strains of old infectious agents.

Re:What new diseases have crossed over recently? (2, Insightful)

Stickerboy (61554) | about 6 years ago | (#25224055)

>One of the big killers in worldwide mortality statistics (after HIV and malaria) is, if I recall, "acute respiratory infection", which includes just about anything that didn't get an official diagnosis other than the obvious fact the person died of some kind of lung infection. That probably contains countless infectious agents as yet unknown to science.

You're making a mountain out of a molehill. "Acute respiratory infection" is another way of saying an elderly person with a failing immune system died of pneumonia that may or may not have turned septic.

There are many ways to get pneumonia, but the large majority of those will be garden-variety Strep. pneumo, Influenza virus, Staph. aureus, Pseudomonas and other well-known and well-characterized pathogens. Rarely will the cause of the pneumonia be identified on the death certificate or discharge report, but if someone poked around the medical chart it will usually turn up a sputum or blood culture. There is no mystery superbug or bugs out there killing tens of millions of people by "acute respiratory infection".

Re:What new diseases have crossed over recently? (3, Funny)

dr_strang (32799) | about 6 years ago | (#25223567)

What diseases that crossed the species barrier in the last 30 years will we be talking about in 2078?

None. We'll all be dead from the Captain Trips by then.

Re:What new diseases have crossed over recently? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25223739)

Is it really 100 years old? I remember only hearing about it in the 80's. could it be that the people who got it look 100 years old?

Re:What new diseases have crossed over recently? (4, Interesting)

reverseengineer (580922) | about 6 years ago | (#25223931)

Modern transportation networks, industrialized agriculture/animal husbandry, and globalization all make it less likely that a zoonotic disease will be able to remain contained in a small population for the length of time HIV managed. The construction of road networks deep into the rainforests of the Congo (sometimes described as "the AIDS Highway") connected a huge biological reservoir with the wider world, and the construction of the international air travel network eliminated many of the natural geographic barriers to the spread of disease. It is of note that that Ebola and Marburg both found their way out of the jungle at about the same time as HIV; Marburg is naturally endemic to central Africa, but gets its name from an outbreak in Germany.

As development continues into the high-biodiversity tropics, we will continue to be confronted by new diseases. What will disappear is endemism, where a disease can percolate among a small reservoir for decades before breaking out into the wider world. AIDS is thought to have trickled through a network of truck drivers and prostitutes across central Africa, until it finally made it to people who hopped on planes and spread it to Europe and North America. Now, someone can pick up a disease in a jungle (or a livestock processing plant) and bring it to New York, London, or Shanghai the next morning. On the other hand, reporting and containment of outbreaks has become faster- in large part from painful lessons learned from the spread of AIDS.

To more precisely answer the parent's question though-"What diseases that crossed the species barrier in the last 30 years will we be talking about in 2078?"- my guess is we'll still be dealing with foodborne microorganisms, especially the pathogenic E. coli strains, with the expectation that one of those will pop up with a nasty new enterohemorrhagic strain in the vein of E. coli O157:H7. I think we'll still be talking about prion diseases given their relation to the food supply as well. Their first recorded human cases are earlier than 30 years ago, but I'd argue for the emerging future importance of West Nile virus and dengue fever as the types of mosquitoes that spread them have greatly increased their ranges. Probably some sort of viral respiratory ailment (like SARS)- they just spread so easily.

Factoid about E. coli: the O157:H7 strain, the one which causes the most serious human illness, is nothing new. It is estimated to have picked up its nasty shigatoxin (distinguishing it from the more benign strains) between 2 and 4 million years ago. The first recorded outbreak in humans, however, occurred in 1982.

Insert Apple joke here... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25222389)

The Apple bumper sticker included with your Apple purchase can also double as an AIDS awareness sticker...

Re:Insert Apple joke here... (5, Funny)

DeadManCoding (961283) | about 6 years ago | (#25222411)

Actually, I think the better joke would be, "Eh, it's still not as old as McCain..."

Shhh! (1)

davidwr (791652) | about 6 years ago | (#25222449)

That tidbit is still covered under the Apple's NDA until December 1st [avert.org] .

Immunity reason for aging (1)

0xABADC0DA (867955) | about 6 years ago | (#25222425)

To spread, a virus has to infect from older to younger people faster than they grow old and die. This is especially pronounced for an std, with far less chances to spread than say a flu.

I bet there's some correlation between how long a being lives and how good its immune system is at fighting off new viruses. What I mean is, creatures like sharks, the crock family, turtles(?) have such fierce immune systems (ie molecular acid for blood) that they can afford to live basically forever.

Re:Immunity reason for aging (1)

icebrain (944107) | about 6 years ago | (#25223177)

the crock family

Country and pot?

Re:Immunity reason for aging (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | about 6 years ago | (#25223325)

What I mean is, creatures like sharks, the crock family, turtles(?) have such fierce immune systems (ie molecular acid for blood) that they can afford to live basically forever.

I think you're getting your Earth species confused with Internecivus raptus [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Immunity reason for aging (2, Funny)

CronicBurn (316845) | about 6 years ago | (#25224205)

How funny that an add for "The Flexible Shaft Ratcheting Screwdriver" from ThinkGeek shows up, in an HIV/AIDS thread, and it's tag line is "More flexible screwing".

Har...

hgmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25222469)

first post

First post now thought to be dated 18:18PM (3, Funny)

davidwr (791652) | about 6 years ago | (#25222521)

While First Post was previously estimated to be from 1-October-2008 18:31, new analysis shows it was actually dates back to 1-October-2008 18:18.

"Genetic analysis" (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25222477)

Experts say it's no surprise that HIV circulated in humans for about 70 years before being recognized. An infection usually takes years to produce obvious symptoms, a lag that can mask the role of the virus, and it would have infected relatively few Africans early in its spread, they said.

Also AIDS itself only attacks the immune system, so death caused by secondary infections. And since the immune system depends on the general health of a person I would guess that with the progress in the last 100 years an infected person lived longer and longer, getting more time to spread the virus. Add to that the mentioned rise of cities and you have the long time lag between the first human infection and the worldwide spread.

The real history... (1)

Tenek (738297) | about 6 years ago | (#25222511)

Old news. The spread of HIV has already been well documented by Dr. Tom Lehrer. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xKZR3Bcj4jw [youtube.com]

Weird (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25222547)

I have always found it really hard to believe that even thus people have been having sex for thousands of years in the same way as we do now, the aids virus can be only 100 years old. There is more to it that their letting us to believe. The virus cant have just come out of know where,

The truth will come out some day , and no I dont believe elvis is alive or adolf is living in the north pole.

---------
liberta-togo.com

Re:Weird (1)

larry bagina (561269) | about 6 years ago | (#25223161)

It didn't come out of nowhere. If you believe in intelligent design, god created as punishment for being gay. If you believe in evolution, it mutated from something else (being an RNA/retrovirus, mutations are much more common).

Re:Weird And if you belive in REVolution/DEVo (1)

davidsyes (765062) | about 6 years ago | (#25224041)

lution, it could be the creation of homo-whormo-sapien 2.0.0.3.5-36-xbz

But, if you believe in creationism, you'd be remiss to not ask why free will was granted if HIV/AIDS were to be created as a punishment for what "God" apparently doesn't like. Sounds kinda stupid, to me. Sort like deliberately creating cars that WILL fail at the slightest operator whim, only to punish the car AND driver for transgressions that were known to be likely to happen.

I can only think of Depeche Mode's "Blasphemous Rumours" ....

Why in the HELLS create something, give it a free will, make it's immune system *relatively* robust, then create a disease/malfunction SPECIFICALLY to punish beings for same-gender emotional/recreational sex activities? Sure, reckless-abandon sex should not be rewarded when STDs can be passed all to easily. But, the logic of the "God's punishment for Gay sex" is absolutely, mind-bogglingly, immeasurably idiot. Why? Well, those who practice SAFE/monogamous or protected same-sex sex are ONLY going to contract HIV/AIDS by means OTHER than penile-anal/penile-vaginal congress.

If you believe in KARMA, then said people will come down with HIV/AIDS via random assault bitings or needle-jabs in crowded places where the attackers intentionally are infecting the public. But, such attackers can't possibly KNOW who IS and IS NOT gay/swinging sexual beings. Also, such people would get HIV/AIDS via botched/reckless blood transfusion. Yet, why is "God" punishing those who are newborns or toddlers or kids or young adults and other adults who DO NOT use recreational/addiction-based needle-transferred drugs? Is it then KARMA, which some religions will prefer to displace with God theory?

If "God" wanted, s/he/it could have created a universe (for us) in which our trials and travails didn't have HIV/AIDS, polio, herpes, and Hitler, Stalins, and other things and people to "make life on Earth interesting". Our sphere/bubble/microcosm could have been "MORE INTELLIGENTLY DESIGNED" with less bullshit, less bloodshed, and less God-damning, senseless, discombobulating forms of inanity and violence. We wouldn't have to be More Intelligently Designed as sheep, but things could have been DIFFERENT.

So, maybe Blasphemous Rumors is quite apropos a song, despite the RCC decrying the song. After all, what in Blasphemous Rumors can be challenged? What in the song is false or libelous or mis-representative of the world in which we live? Especially when "God" gave us many abilities to be "Flexible", and make us relatively stronger than a "Fly on the Windscreen"?

There's too much "God" in our daily lives and not enough compassion, humility, honesty, and sharing. Greed abounds, intermixed with wondrous and scary things, especially SCARY so-called God-driveling and God-driven leaders and wannabe leaders.

I think i rest my case.

Re:Weird (1)

DrDNA (713626) | about 6 years ago | (#25223469)

What they mean when they say the AIDS virus is 100 years old is that it was transmitted from apes (chimpanzees) to humans 100 years ago. The chimpanzee virus it came from is called SIV-cpz. It, in turn, evolved from other, related viruses. So it didn't just form out of whole cloth. It evolved from something related.

Re:Weird (4, Funny)

camperdave (969942) | about 6 years ago | (#25223563)

Ah, but maybe someone perverted enough to have sex with an infected monkey only comes around every 10,000 years or so.

Re:Weird (1)

4D6963 (933028) | about 6 years ago | (#25223767)

Oh yeah, that's so surprising that in an era when people regularly have sex with people from different continents rather than people from different villages such a disease would spread across the globe.

Re:Weird (3, Insightful)

Valdrax (32670) | about 6 years ago | (#25224133)

Most human epidemic diseases have an identifiable animal origin. The book "Guns, Germs, and Steel" notes this as one of the curses (and blessings in times of war and conquest) of Eurasian agriculture that allowed us to easily take over the New World and yet find it hard to take over Southeast Asia. We know roughly what century or millenia many human plagues originated in and what animals they came from -- think flu from pigs and birds, tuberculosis from cattle and badgers, black plague from rats via fleas.

AIDS is just another disease to recently transfer from animal to human hosts. Even though it's considered sexually transmitted, there are a number of ways it could've gotten into human hosts without breaking the bestiality taboo -- attacks by infected chimpanzees, eating improperly cooked bushmeat (while having a mouthsore), etc. (Bushmeat is where we think Ebola originated from, as well, and we've only been aware of its existence for 30-40 years.)

AIDS's deadliness is one indication of its youth. New diseases which aren't adapted well to their hosts yet often run rampant and kill them off quickly until milder strains (and more resistant hosts) allow for epidemics to linger in the population without killing off all available hosts. Think of new diseases as any other invasive species not yet adapted to its environment (and vice versa). SIV doesn't cause fatal symptoms in simian hosts, for example, but its newly human-adapted HIV strains causes AIDS in humans. Possibly over time, AIDS would be replaced in the human population with a milder disease, like we see with flu strains from year to year. It's hard to tell without giving it a few hundred or thousand more years of evolution to be sure.

So, it's not that strange. We're just "lucky" to see it in its early stages of adapting to its new host species. I'm sure there are more potential human diseases out there that we just haven't encountered yet because we don't have much contact with their current hosts. Cheerful thought, isn't it?

Maybe Duesberg was right (3, Interesting)

R2.0 (532027) | about 6 years ago | (#25222581)

I did a study on AIDS for a philosophy of Science class, focussing on the (then) competing disease models: viral cause and lifestyle cause. The main proponent of the latter was Peter Duesberg, a well respected researcher, who put forth the arguement that HIV was simply an opportunistic infection that could catch hold of a person after the damage they had done to their bodies by IV drug use and poor lifestyle choices. The major arguement behind this was that, if AIDS was caused by an infectious agent, it is acting in a manner contrary to everything we know about how diseases work.

Well, it turns out that he was wrong, and indeed HIV is different than what we've seen before. And the therapeutic treatments bear this out - surpress the virus and people don't get AIDS.

But...

Stuff like this pops up, and one really starts to wonder if the AIDS experts really know what they're talking about. A virus hangs around for a hundred years and then BLAMMO - instant deadliness. Yeah, I guess it's possible, but it does reinforce Duesberg's original point - AIDS doesn't act the way we normally believe diseases should act.

Re:Maybe Duesberg was right (4, Insightful)

compro01 (777531) | about 6 years ago | (#25222859)

HIV/AIDS simply requires certain circumstances (which didn't exist until relatively recently) to thrive effectively due to its specific limitations, such as its means of transmission.

A fire in a desert will not spread effectively, as there's nothing for it to burn and spread via, but a fire in a drought-ridden forest will thrive.

Re:Maybe Duesberg was right (1)

kurisuto (165784) | about 6 years ago | (#25223049)

You don't spell out what the change in circumstances are, but I'd guess that you're referring to the sexual revolution of the 1970's and to the gay rights movement.

Actually, I think a strong case can be made that the real change is in attitudes, not behaviors. When the first quantitative studies of human sexual activity were done back in the early 1950's, it was shown that men were having sex with men a lot; more than anyone had guessed.

So a good case could be made that the drought-ridden forest has always been there, and it was just an matter of chance that the forest fire didn't happen sooner.

Re:Maybe Duesberg was right (4, Interesting)

khallow (566160) | about 6 years ago | (#25223261)

I disagree. There were significant changes in the 60's that you aren't getting. First, airline travel was more widespread in the 60's. Second, there were people having unprotected sex with dozens or hundreds of partners. Sure that was going on in the 50's, but by the 70's there was a lot more possibilities for HIV infection to propagate. Finally, heroin use grew dramatically as the Vietnam War dragged on, providing a more reliable means for HIV infection via used needles.

Re:Maybe Duesberg was right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25223537)

Another big one would be travel. Not to say that people didn't travel before, but until commercial air travel, there was substantially less opportunity for transmissions between populations both nationally and internationally.

Re:Maybe Duesberg was right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25223579)

When the first quantitative studies of human sexual activity were done back in the early 1950's, it was shown that men were having sex with men a lot; more than anyone had guessed.

But their partners would probably have formed more closely connected sets than now, with less "new blood", if you'll pardon the slightly inappropriate choice of term....

Re:Maybe Duesberg was right (1)

compro01 (777531) | about 6 years ago | (#25223959)

I personally think the key thing is transportation. Never before has large-scale transportation been practical as it is today. You can jump on a plane and be practically anywhere in the world within a few hours. This is a massive boon to any sort of infectious disease, be it AIDS, flu, or even the common cold.

Another factor to consider is the population and relatedly, population density. Over the past century, and particularly over the past few decades, the population and the density of said population have been growing at a completely unprecedented rate. Over the past 50 years, the world population has doubled. Over the past 100 years, it has roughly quadrupled. Again, this is yet another boon for infectious disease.

While your circumstances are likely contributors, I think they are far overshadowed by rapid, long distance transportation and greatly increased population density.

Re:Maybe Duesberg was right (1)

R2.0 (532027) | about 6 years ago | (#25223079)

"requires certain circumstances (which didn't exist until relatively recently) to thrive effectively due to its specific limitations, such as its means of transmission."

Huh? You mean people weren't banging each other without condoms before the early 80's? Because I'm pretty sure teh history of sexually transmitted diseases goes wayyyy farther back than that.

Re:Maybe Duesberg was right (2, Insightful)

Zironic (1112127) | about 6 years ago | (#25222937)

It wasn't any less deadly, it was just spread slower(because people with aids died faster and people lived less close together) and wasn't noticed(since it attacks the immune system it's always another disease that kills you)

Re:Maybe Duesberg was right (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 6 years ago | (#25223217)

What is so particularly different about HIV? It isn't the only pathogen out there that attacks the immune system. It's only real trick is that it isn't like some viruses, and doesn't kill within a few weeks, so it doesn't tend to burn itself out before it can spread.

What makes it rather unique is that in an age where we have an enormous number of very effective drugs for many diseases, it is still is pretty resistant compared to, say, syphilis. Syphilis was for centuries a scourge every bit as bad as HIV/AIDS. Folks with syphilis could infect a helluva lot of partners before the tertiary stage finally knocked them out. Until the development of sulfa drugs, there was no reliable treatment for it.

Re:Maybe Duesberg was right (2, Insightful)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 6 years ago | (#25223643)

and then BLAMMO - instant deadliness

among people western science cared about

Space born virus? (4, Funny)

Trikenstein (571493) | about 6 years ago | (#25222659)

HIV = Tunguska event?

Re:Space born virus? (2, Insightful)

orclevegam (940336) | about 6 years ago | (#25223119)

HIV = Tunguska event?

Although an interesting correlation (repeat old saw about correlation not equaling causation), I'm interested in how your "hypothesis" accounts for the HIV relatives in the simian population prior to that date, and also how this "space virus" managed to migrate from the Russian boondocks to the middle of Africa without apparently spreading through any of the intermediary countries.

Re:Space born virus? (1)

scorp1us (235526) | about 6 years ago | (#25223277)

Clearly, not a likely scenario, but indulging...

The virus would not be viable at the near-impact site. It would have to be spread by the ejecta from the explosion, or a chunk that broke off and fell into the congo on its way to Russia. Given that it exploded before impact it is likely that internal pressures were causing debris to fall off all through the descent.

Arriving in the Congo, which is home to Bonobos, the most human-like ape, it infected them, then moved out from there.

Re:Space born virus? (1)

orclevegam (940336) | about 6 years ago | (#25223485)

Wow, I didn't actually expect a response, let alone a well thought out and reasoned one. Ok, well, that's a plausible explanation for how the Tunguska impact could be tied to the spread of a virus in Africa, but still doesn't explain some of the HIV like viruses that pre-date the Tunguska event and are speculated to be the pre-cursor to HIV. Unfortunately at this point we run up against an extreme lack of information as even the link between the simian strains of immune viruses and HIV is tenuous at best.

On a related note, is there any research into the viability of a virus in space? I know it's not strictly speaking alive, but it does possess a chemical structure as well as DNA (well, RNA) which would require protection from if nothing else radiation. Assuming it was inside whatever exploded in Tunguska (which we aren't even sure about), but was close enough to the surface of the object to be ejected prior to explosion, how much radiation would it have soaked up just getting to Earth?

Re:Space born virus? (1)

Dr. Spork (142693) | about 6 years ago | (#25223659)

The Congo really is pretty far from Eastern Siberia.

Re:Space born virus? (1)

scorp1us (235526) | about 6 years ago | (#25223893)

Not when you've just made a trip from the kuiper belt. Distance is relative. Perhaps it was not off the actual comet itself, but part of the comets tail which followed. And that does seem to make some sense, becuse the congo is west of siberia, the planet rotates east, so there would be a few minutes of lag needed to get to the congo west of the impact.

Re:Space born virus? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25223245)

Yeah, because the Russian Federation is really swarming with the virus, with a 1.1% infection rate. Try again, genius.

Re:Space born virus? (1)

mstahl (701501) | about 6 years ago | (#25223865)

Definitely an interesting thought, and there's been previous speculation about all viruses being space-borne. But if that were the case, why would it start out in the Congo rather than in Siberia?

1908 also was the last time that the cubs won it a (3, Funny)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | about 6 years ago | (#25222845)

1908 also was the last time that the cubs won it all.

Re:1908 also was the last time that the cubs won i (1)

Captain Splendid (673276) | about 6 years ago | (#25224119)

More proof that baseball, like HIV, is a scourge on humanity. Go play a real game!

Happy birthday! (4, Funny)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | about 6 years ago | (#25223019)

Happy 100th birthday, HIV!

Not knowing it's there doesn't mean it isn't. (2, Insightful)

Eg0Death (1282452) | about 6 years ago | (#25223449)

Since AIDS/HIV isn't the direct cause of death, it seems highly likely that when infected individuals died in the late 1800's/early 1900's the cause of death would be attributed (correctly) to the obvious illness (flu, pneumonia, consumption, dysentery). I'm no medical historian, but I'm fairly certain that the means to "find" the AIDS/HIV were not available.

Re:Not knowing it's there doesn't mean it isn't. (1)

4D6963 (933028) | about 6 years ago | (#25223867)

If you bothered to RTFA, they can know for sure about when the epidemic started, i.e. when an infected person passed it on in a way that wouldn't die off, and they know that by comparing the genetic differences in their samples of HIV they have, importantly enough thanks to two samples from Congo from 1959 and 1960. So that's a fairly foolproof way to date the beginning of the epidemic.

Re:Not knowing it's there doesn't mean it isn't. (1)

Eg0Death (1282452) | about 6 years ago | (#25224113)

I did RTFA, you insensitive clod, and I'm agreeing with it! Now go away or I will throw more /. memes at you!

Re:Not knowing it's there doesn't mean it isn't. (2, Informative)

Mortiss (812218) | about 6 years ago | (#25223879)

Agreed. Few facts: First virus discovered - 1899; Tobacco Mosaic Virus http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virus [wikipedia.org]
First electron microscopes to observe virions: 1930's (same source).
Hence it is entirely possible that HIV related deaths simply went unnoticed, plus the possibility that it was largely confined to the areas where humans had been in contact with apes and thus could become infected with the virus that was able to jump species (which would be a very rare event on its own anyway)
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