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Antibody Discovered To Boost HIV Vaccines

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the nowhere-to-hide dept.

Biotech 144

An anonymous reader sends this clip from Scienceblog.com. "Scientists have discovered two potent human antibodies that can stop more than 90 percent of known global HIV strains from infecting human cells in the laboratory, and have demonstrated how one of these disease-fighting proteins accomplishes this feat. ... Research efforts to find individual antibodies that can neutralize HIV strains have been difficult because the virus continuously changes its surface proteins to evade recognition by the immune system. As a consequence of these changes, an enormous number of HIV variants exist worldwide. However, there are a few surface areas that remain nearly constant across all variants of HIV and scientists have now discovered two potent human antibodies that attach to one of these sites and can stop more than 90 percent of known global HIV strains from infecting human cells in the laboratory. ... The researchers also confirmed that VRC01 does not bind to human cells — a characteristic that might otherwise lead to its elimination during immune development, a natural mechanism the body employs to prevent autoimmune disease."

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Pshhh (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32852500)

Yet another vaccine and cure that is hidden so that pharmaceutical companies get more and more money..

Re:Pshhh (2, Funny)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 4 years ago | (#32852632)

Yet another vaccine and cure that is hidden so that pharmaceutical companies get more and more money..

Well, it's actually the money, not the vaccines, that are suppressing the virus...

Re:Pshhh (4, Interesting)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#32852844)

Yes, that explains why AIDS treatments have been getting better and cheaper.

Re:Pshhh (0)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#32852986)

so if I shower with money, that'll work as a HIV vaccine? That's the easiest solution I've ever heard!

Re:Pshhh (1)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 4 years ago | (#32853524)

Don't shower with money shot, since that would probably have the opposite effect.

Re:Pshhh (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#32853848)

money shot shampoo. creamy and 100% aids free!

Re:Pshhh (5, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#32852836)

I'm pretty ok with people getting money for doing something valuable. I was happy when Linus became a millionaire, I'll be happy if the people who invent an AIDS vaccine become millionaires. Other people having money doesn't reduce my happiness one bit, and when they get it for doing something awesome, it increases my happiness.

Progress on this front is good (5, Interesting)

beschra (1424727) | more than 4 years ago | (#32852504)

But I have to wonder if the region that doesn't normally morph will start morphing if it starts being targetted. HIV is a tough little bugger. Very borg-like.

Re:Progress on this front is good (4, Insightful)

easterberry (1826250) | more than 4 years ago | (#32852622)

Some of it probably will eventually, but they can probably cure or prevent the spread of at least a decent percentage of people.

So it's a win for the medical community and human race in general either way.

Re:Progress on this front is good (1, Troll)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 4 years ago | (#32853902)

but they can probably cure or prevent the spread of at least a decent percentage of people.

but they can probably cure or prevent the spread of at least a decent percentage of wealthy people.

Which is already being done in the most part in most first world countries. The problem is the lower rung countries that can't afford even simple education on how the disease spreads. It is a Catch-22 of sorts - pharmaceutical companies don't want to come up with a cheap enough vaccine that will be effective in poorer countries where it is needed most becasue they won't profit enough. Unless someone can still make money off the vaccine, it will almost certainly never be done.

Re:Progress on this front is good (1)

easterberry (1826250) | more than 4 years ago | (#32854058)

The Gates Foundation might pick it up...

Re:Progress on this front is good (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 4 years ago | (#32854380)

Where is the catch-22 (paradox) in that? They don't want to make a treatment that won't earn them back the money they spent on it... Sounds like standard operating procedure to me for any for-profit company. It sucks, yes; but is it a paradox? Not really.

Joseph Heller just died a little more (he is already dead, I know.)

Re:Progress on this front is good (0, Troll)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 4 years ago | (#32854620)

Because, ugh, at the sake of sounding like a pinko communist here, money isn't the only thing you can profit from. And I wasn't talking about recouping their expenses, I was talking about making a profit. There is a big difference. Nobody wants to lose money on a venture like this, but sometimes earning some goodwill is just as valuable if not more than earning fiscal profits. (Just ask BP)

Re:Progress on this front is good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32854550)

You have to consider the possibility that God does not like you. He never wanted you. In all probability, he hates you. This is not the worst thing that can happen.
- Tyler Durden

It figures some nit-wit on /. would find something to complain about regarding a net positive for the human race. Get over yourself.

Re:Progress on this front is good (0, Flamebait)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 4 years ago | (#32855416)

I hope you are not referring to me, otherwise your reading comprehension is abysmal. I was the one saying it was dumb for a big pharm corp not to make the vaccine just because they won't realize a huge profit. Put down the Chuck P. book and go back and re-read the posts and then tell me who the complaining nitwit really is. Get over yourself.

Not the mechanism (4, Interesting)

aepervius (535155) | more than 4 years ago | (#32852648)

It won#t start suddenly morphing. What will happen, is that the strain which DO morph will be selected for, as they will more easily spread, than the one stopped by this antibody. But I would not put my hope too high. "In laboratory" means in-vitro. A lot of stuff works in vitro, but never pan out.

Re:Not the mechanism (3, Informative)

cpricejones (950353) | more than 4 years ago | (#32853162)

The in vitro / in vivo gap is definitely a worry. The next stages of trials will give an answer with regards to that. The current issue of Science has several articles about the spread of HIV, including a good review about why it is difficult to eradicate HIV in an infected individual. ( for those with access, http://www.sciencemag.org/content/current/ [sciencemag.org] or http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/reprint/329/5988/174.pdf [sciencemag.org] ) There are many great broadly neutralizing antibodies coming out right now, and even though HIV has an astonishing ability to escape our immune systems, there is hope that these will be successful for vaccines. ( http://arjournals.annualreviews.org/doi/pdf/10.1146/annurev-immunol-030409-101256 [annualreviews.org] )

Re:Progress on this front is good (5, Insightful)

Gotung (571984) | more than 4 years ago | (#32852650)

The region that doesn't change is the binding site. If that changes the virus will likely be much less effective at binding onto immune cells. If it can't target immune cells anymore, it becomes much less scary.

Re:Progress on this front is good (1)

jack2000 (1178961) | more than 4 years ago | (#32853148)

Can't the same technique "target binding site parts of virus" work for every other type of virus?
Does this mean we're about to win the virus arms race?

Re:Progress on this front is good (2, Informative)

hitmark (640295) | more than 4 years ago | (#32853594)

not by a long shot.

Re:Progress on this front is good (1)

christoofar (451967) | more than 4 years ago | (#32854732)

There are already drugs that inhibit CD4+T lymphocite binding in addition to drugs that stop reverse transcriptase against HIV RNA and yet STILL more drugs that inhibit the protein folding process HIV needs to change into a useful virion. Presuming this antibody does work, what then? Does at least cover HIV1 as well as HIV2?

Re:Progress on this front is good (1)

gumbi west (610122) | more than 4 years ago | (#32852672)

From the article

antibodies specific to the site where the virus binds to cells it infects.

so it probably does morph there, but then it doesn't go anywhere (or successfully infect future cells). Their device then blocks the site so that the virus can't attack immune cells. Seems difficult to get around... but they say 10% of the existing HIV already has... so yeah, it can.

Re:Progress on this front is good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32852912)

"so it probably does morph there, but then it doesn't go anywhere (or successfully infect future cells). Their device then blocks the site so that the virus can't attack immune cells. Seems difficult to get around... but they say 10% of the existing HIV already has... so yeah, it can."

Then again some strains of HIV doesn't develop into AIDS... I wonder if those 10% are the non-AIDS variants?

Prevents CD4 binding (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32852708)

Which is the mechanism that HIV uses to do the borg-like stuff. If the borg had no ability to assimilate, nobody would be scared of them.

Re:Progress on this front is good (4, Interesting)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#32852790)

Although I find what you suggest unlikely, one thing for sure, if 90% of the HIV population is eliminated, the other 10% will fill its niche. That is the nature of natural selection. Not even a creationist will deny that point.

Re:Progress on this front is good (2, Interesting)

Jeng (926980) | more than 4 years ago | (#32852850)

If you cure 90% of those with HIV you have also reduced the possible spread of infection by 90%.

Eventually that 10% may swell to pre-vaccine ( if this pans out ) levels, but it would take decades for HIV to get back up to the level of infection it is at today ( if this pans out ).

Re:Progress on this front is good (3, Interesting)

Haffner (1349071) | more than 4 years ago | (#32852952)

What that really depends on is whether multiple strains infect the same individual. If, as you suggest, each individual is infected by 1 strain, then this solution indeed would cure 90% of the population (assuming it works). However, if each individual is infected by 500 strains, this solution will cure a tiny fraction of 1% of the population.

Re:Progress on this front is good (4, Interesting)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#32852990)

Eh, as long as we're talking about infection rates and cure speeds, you should also note that they aren't going to cure 90% of those with HIV (or vaccinate everyone so those 90% of HIV strains stop spreading). The vaccination rate will be slow, not instantaneous, and it will give time for the other 10% of strains to fill the void. How many lives are saved depends on how quickly the vaccination moves out, how many people get it, and how quickly the other strains spread.

Incidentally, condoms work so well at preventing HIV from spreading that if everyone used them, the propagation rate of HIV would likely be dropped below a sustainable level, and AIDS would disappear. In Nevada brothels that use condoms, HIV rates are quite low.

Re:Progress on this front is good (2, Interesting)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#32853424)

The thing about an antibody treatment is that it is theoretically possible to actually cure someone someone with HIV.

If the antibodies are sufficiently effective they prevent the existing viruses from infecting new cells and eventually the body will run out of previously infected cells.

At that point the person would be cured.

Re:Progress on this front is good (1)

easterberry (1826250) | more than 4 years ago | (#32853520)

Unless we do it like we did with Smallpox where we just aggressively push the vaccination around the world to everybody. That way there's no time for the 10% to fill the gaps.

Re:Progress on this front is good (3, Informative)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 4 years ago | (#32853556)

Condoms are differentially permeable membranes.

Think about that for a minute, or twenty, which is how often they recommend changing gloves if you work with blood.

Re:Progress on this front is good (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32854448)

I am impressed by your knowledge of Nevada brothels and wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

Re:Progress on this front is good (2, Funny)

Drift3r (685496) | more than 4 years ago | (#32855294)

Incidentally, condoms work so well at preventing HIV from spreading that if everyone used them, the propagation rate of HIV would likely be dropped below a sustainable level, and AIDS would disappear. In Nevada brothels that use condoms, HIV rates are quite low.

I would agree with this statement. If everybody used condoms, then I could say the same thing about the propagation of pregnancy rates. If everybody used them, humans would likely be dropped below a sustainable level, and would disappear!

Re:Progress on this front is good (1)

aBaldrich (1692238) | more than 4 years ago | (#32853020)

If you don't give the chance to fill the niche (through education, campaigns, condom give aways, chastity belts and whatnot), then it would not spread that much.

Re:Progress on this front is good (1, Flamebait)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 4 years ago | (#32853120)

A creationist would argue that the lord sent AIDS to punish sinners.

Re:Progress on this front is good (0, Flamebait)

SpongeBob Hitler (1848328) | more than 4 years ago | (#32853850)

A creationist would argue that the lord sent AIDS to punish sinners.

Even though some creationist modded you "flamebait", what you say is true. The fundies, who are also creationists, said over and over again that AIDS was God's judgement on evil homosexuals. The fact that there are straight people with AIDS and children with AIDS who received bad blood transfusions didn't phase their hate-addled brains one bit.

Re:Progress on this front is good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32854298)

didn't phase their hate-addled brains one bit.

You mean faze.

Re:Progress on this front is good (-1, Flamebait)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | more than 4 years ago | (#32854586)

Anyone saying "The Lord sent AIDS to punish sinners." should be sent to Africa and fucked up the ass every hour on the hour for 2 weeks.
Lets see what their opinion is after that.

Re:Progress on this front is good (1)

darkmeridian (119044) | more than 4 years ago | (#32854116)

Viruses and germs that evolve around an antibody or antibiotic tend to be less virulent than the wild strain. Without the antibody or antibiotic, the wild strain has predominated against all other strains, including the resistant strain. The resistant strain tends to be less efficient at survival than the wild strain. If the strains of HIV that are best able to bind with human immune cells are knocked out, the ten percent left may be less able to spread than the existing strains. If you assume that the spread of a contagion has exponential (to some degree) a drop in the transmission rates may save many, many lives.

The problem with HIV is that its effects can be mitigated if people use condoms, not be so promiscuous, and stay away from risky practices such as anal sex or dry sex. The risk of getting HIV from non-anal heterosexual intercourse is very small; studies put it at 1 in 500 if you have vaginal sex with a HIV-infected person. Using a condom makes that risk effectively 0. We need to educate everyone to avoid these practices. This would mitigate the spread of this plague.

Techno Puzzle (1)

hhawk (26580) | more than 4 years ago | (#32852516)

Let's hope they can figure out away to create something good from this.. and yet I wonder if the guy whose body they came from will get any piece of the profits.. Let's hope he does..

Re:Techno Puzzle (3, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 4 years ago | (#32852544)

and yet I wonder if the guy whose body they came from will get any piece of the profits.. Let's hope he does..

Why?

The only logically reason why he deserves anything would be to encourage others to get tested for similar things, and I don't see too many researchers looking desperately looking for random people to come forward and have their antibodies tested.

Re:Techno Puzzle (1)

smellsofbikes (890263) | more than 4 years ago | (#32853882)

and yet I wonder if the guy whose body they came from will get any piece of the profits.. Let's hope he does..

Why?

The only logically reason why he deserves anything would be to encourage others to get tested for similar things, and I don't see too many researchers looking desperately looking for random people to come forward and have their antibodies tested.

If a corporation finds a gold vein on property for which I own the mineral rights, because I asked them to test a sample of rock I'd found, I would expect them to pay me for the gold.

Re:Techno Puzzle (4, Informative)

PerfectionLost (1004287) | more than 4 years ago | (#32852670)

He won't. You opt out as part of your agreement to lab testing. There was an article about this on NPR a couple months ago, but I can't seem to find it.

Re:Techno Puzzle (1)

jack2000 (1178961) | more than 4 years ago | (#32853168)

Surely they can make an exception for people who's blood actually helps.

Re:Techno Puzzle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32854410)

people who's blood actually helps.

You mean whose.

Re:Techno Puzzle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32852776)

yet I wonder if the guy whose body they came from will get any piece of the profits.. Let's hope he does..

Bah, Magic Johnson already has enough money.

Re:Techno Puzzle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32852838)

Why does everything have to be about financial reward? I would think that knowing you were instrumental in helping to cure the worst infectious disease of modern times would be reward enough. If I could donate antibodies and in doing so cure AIDS, even with no compensation, I would jump at the opportunity.

WINDOWS PHONE 7 CANCELLED (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32852532)

It's Kin all over again. Double jeopardy attached?

Great... (0, Flamebait)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32852606)

So now we can all start fucking again?

Re:Great... (1)

elewton (1743958) | more than 4 years ago | (#32852626)

I like to leave that kind of risk to the early adopters.

Re:Great... (0, Redundant)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#32852824)

Like you have a choice....ZING!

Re:Great... (1, Funny)

Gotung (571984) | more than 4 years ago | (#32852662)

Oh, so THAT's why you haven't been fucking.

Come on, this is slashdot ...

Re:Great... (5, Funny)

Bill Dimm (463823) | more than 4 years ago | (#32852768)

So now we can all start fucking again?

If you want to pretend that HIV was the reason people on Slashdot weren't fucking, you go right ahead.

Re:Great... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32854792)

What? Having cybersex with an hot Elf female warrior in WoW is not fucking? Oh God! And she is suing my mom for child support because I got her pregnant on that! My mom is even cutting the air conditioner of my basement, is getting like an oven in here...

Sounds good... (2, Informative)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 4 years ago | (#32852652)

...at least in the short term. But while my understanding is limited, one question seems glaring to me:

If you cook up a medicine that treats 90% of HIV strains, in the long run are you doing anything more than ensuring that the remaining 10% become the entire body of the disease?

Re:Sounds good... (4, Insightful)

exasperation (1378979) | more than 4 years ago | (#32852702)

No. You're drastically reducing the number of possible infections. 90% of exposures would be immunized against.

Re:Sounds good... (1)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 4 years ago | (#32853230)

Again, that's the short term. 90% of the infections you would encounter today would be immunized against (assuming even distribution of strains, and assuming that every infection source only hosts a single strain; if those assumptions don't hold then you could be immunizing against anywhere from 0% to 100% of actual infections).

Now, what happens to a strain of infection that can't find a host? It stops replicating and dies out. Eventually all of the HIV virus that's still alive is from the 10% you weren't able to treat, and at that point you're immunizing against 0% of new infections. In exchange you may have a much smaller infected population... until the disease starts spreading again.

Re:Sounds good... (1)

easterberry (1826250) | more than 4 years ago | (#32853562)

But we can more easily contain, control and prevent it now than we could when the epidemic started. Basically, to use a video game metaphor, it's like loading up the old save with new knowledge of how the fight goes.

Yes you are technically in the exact same position you were last time but you have a much better chance of winning this time.

Re:Sounds good... (1)

linhares (1241614) | more than 4 years ago | (#32855198)

It's a _very broad_ antibody, so here's another analogy: if you can only eat carrots, will *you* still be *you* in the long run? The major thing I see in these papers is that there's a new method for finding out the one-in-a-million antibody that gets to a seemingly "stable" (hard to mutate) part of the virus envelope. So I think that not only can these two newfound antibodies, *in principle*, hold out 90%+ of the strains, but a) they just might be putting the other strains on such "a miserable carrot diet", and b) this is a *new method* which I suppose hundreds or perhaps thousands of researchers are RIGHT NOW going crazy over and over studying it, trying to replicate it, looking at it from other angles, ad nauseam. If lots of ambitious people are seeing this as their possible ticket to the nobel, expect to see more news in time for christmas.

Re:Sounds good... (0)

IshmaelDS (981095) | more than 4 years ago | (#32853680)

so you want to not save a crap load of people from being infected now because we wouldn't be able to save a crap load of people from being infected in the future?

Re:Sounds good... (0, Offtopic)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 4 years ago | (#32854112)

Incorrect. Putting words in anothers' mouth is extremely rude behavior, so unless you can point to some place where I said this treatment shouldn't be pursued I await your appology.

Re:Sounds good... (1)

easterberry (1826250) | more than 4 years ago | (#32852704)

You're helping 90% of the worlds HIV epidemic. If they can do this smallpox immunity style they can reduce the "HIV Epidemic" to "The HIV problem that we are in the midst of eradicating"

Re:Sounds good... (1)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 4 years ago | (#32853534)

I think you're playing fast and loose with that 90% figure.

"90% of known straims" does not mean the same thing as "all strains present in 90% of infected persons".

More to the point, in the long view you're only "in the midst of eradicating" the problem if you have a way to address the remaining strains.

Re:Sounds good... (1)

easterberry (1826250) | more than 4 years ago | (#32853710)

More to the point, in the long view you're only "in the midst of eradicating" the problem if you have a way to address the remaining strains.

containment, quarantine, education, getting the god damn catholic church out of Africa. (nothing against religion but, really, they're telling people in the middle of an AIDS epidemic that condoms are evil is not helping).

Besides, Even if only helps 50% of the people given it due to mutation and multiple strains and whatnot. It'll at least slow down the rate of infection as less people will be transmitting it.

Re:Sounds good... (2, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#32852878)

Vaccines and antibiotics have never been more than a temporary measure against disease. Resistant HIV strains will become more common, just as resistant strains of Staph have. But if we can save millions of lives in the mean time, that's a good thing.

Re:Sounds good... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32853846)

Smallpox is gone. You can't get it due to vaccination. Mutations only go so far as the number of protein configuration that allow cell entry is fixed.

Re:Sounds good... (1)

Flea of Pain (1577213) | more than 4 years ago | (#32853044)

You may get lucky enough to cause a bottleneck in the population, so that the majority of those left have the same weakness. Then wash rince and repeat.

Re:Sounds good... (0, Troll)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#32853166)

If you cook up a medicine that treats 90% of HIV strains, in the long run are you doing anything more than ensuring that the remaining 10% become the entire body of the disease?

Yes, but you've cured 90% of your patients. By your logic we'd not use antibiotics at all for anything.

Re:Sounds good... (0, Flamebait)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 4 years ago | (#32853476)

"By your logic we'd not use antibiotics at all for anything"

Really? Where in my logic did that conclusion come in? I defy you to point out where I said this treatment shouldn't be used. In your world is pointing out the limitations of a solution the same as saying not to use the solution? What a sad little world you must live in.

Re:Sounds good... (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#32853824)

The same logic applies. Antibiotics kill all but the most resistant strains of the bacteria, making those resistant strains the entire body of the disease. It's the same thing.

What a sad little world you must live in.

What's sad is someone who has to personally attack someone for pointing out a logical fallacy.

Re:Sounds good... (0, Flamebait)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 4 years ago | (#32853988)

What's sad is how impressively you're missing the point.

I did not say this treatment shoudln't be used. I defy you to point out where I did.

You were not personally attacked for pointing out a logical fallacy. You were personally attacked for putting words in my mouth in an attempt to create a logical fallacy. The longer you keep trying to put words in my mouth, the longer I will continue personally attacking you, because you are being an asshat.

I hope I typed this one slowly enough for you to follow along.

Re:Sounds good... (0, Flamebait)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#32854524)

The inference was there. If you can't see it, I don't know how to make you see it.

Re:Sounds good... (0, Flamebait)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 4 years ago | (#32854896)

If you inferred a conclusion from my premises, that's on you. The flawed logic that says "if the long term impact is limited we shouldn't do it" is yours, not mine.

I really can't comprehend the level of intellectual immaturity that wuold lead you to think you ought to be able to "make me see" that my words mean what you want them to mean. For future reference, the only correct response available to you was to admit you misunderstood me and move on.

Re:Sounds good... (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | more than 4 years ago | (#32854422)

in the long run are you doing anything more than ensuring that the remaining 10% become the entire body of the disease?

The implication of that statement is that this treatment isn't doing anything besides ensuring that the surviving population of the virus is immune to the treatment. However, it's also saving a lot of lives in the meantime. You may not have meant it that way (and I don't think you did), but the way you worded it, I can see how someone might think you did. I think it was just slightly poor phrasing on your part.

Re:Sounds good... (1)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 4 years ago | (#32855020)

Perhaps, except by selectively quoting only that statement you've removed the entire logical structure of my actual comment.

"The implication of that statement is that this treatment isn't doing anything besides ensuring that the surviving population of the virus is immune to the treatment" in the long term. "However, it's also saving a lot of lives in the meantime" (i.e. in the short term).

What I actually said (not your selective quoting from it) is exactly what I meant; I'm sorry if you find the phrasing poor, but I do not.

Re:Sounds good... (1)

Mutatis Mutandis (921530) | more than 4 years ago | (#32853548)

In the long term, certainly yes, variants of disease that are are not recognized by the immune system or resistant to existing treatments will spread again, even from a small core, perhaps one created by accidental mutations. Influenza, of course, manages to do so every year, demonstrating how efficient viruses can be at playing this game. Experience with bacteria and parasites (malaria) is also rather discouraging.

However, how fast that occurs depends on quite a number of factors, including the ability of those mutant viruses to replicate, infect, and cause disease; and of course their geographical spread. Characteristic for many treatment-resistant mutants of HIV is that they are less virulent, because their optimal functioning as a virus has been compromised. Resistance mutations are known to all existing antiviral drugs, and it is only a matter of time before these resistant viruses will become more frequent, but meanwhile the drugs do increase the life expectancy of most patients by about thirty years. In reality, partial solutions are worth the effort. Imagine for a moment that you would have a vaccine that would largely eliminate HIV-1 subtype C, which accounts for over half the infections in the worlds poorest countries. That might be worth having, even if it is only a "short-term" solution and the virus will reconquer the lost terrain.

Unfortunately, in this case it is not clear from the information that I can access, what the practical implications of those 10% of viruses that escape the potential treatment are. The summary mentions 90% of HIV-1 strains, but actually the abstract in Science claims 90% of isolates. I can't access the article from here, but probably the authors identified the sequence of the binding site for their antibody, and then looked how frequently this occurs in a database of known HIV sequences, probably the Los Alamos database. That number doesn't tell you much about the viruses in which is does not occur.

So, they found these antibodies in a person? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32852666)

from the linked article: "the scientists found two naturally occurring, powerful antibodies called VRC01 and VRC02 in an HIV-infected individual’s blood"

So, what are the odds that if this works and turns into a usable vaccine, Magic Johnson is going to be collecting a LOT of royalty checks?

So... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32852676)

I understand this is a great achievement in preventing the spread of the disease, but won't the long-term effect just be that the 10% of the virus that's unaffected becomes 100% of what's spreading?

Re:So... (2, Insightful)

butterflysrage (1066514) | more than 4 years ago | (#32852788)

yes, at 1/10th the rate... that is a good thing

Re:So... (4, Interesting)

spazdor (902907) | more than 4 years ago | (#32852812)

That's a great outcome. Remember, the people who have a strain of HIV from the other 90%, aren't going to get re-infected with one from the 10%. They will just be rendered effectively uncontagious.

It's a one-time thing, to be sure; the resistant strain will spread at the same rate of growth - but it will do so from a severely stunted starting point.

Assuming this works, it means a one-time epidemiological "rewind" - suddenly we'll have the much lower HIV rates we had 30 or 40 years ago, but we'll have the knowledge and preparedness of today. Imagine if we could use 2010's pharmaceuticals to nip the epidemic in the bud back then!

South Park (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32852760)

Cold hard cash, injected directly into the bloodstream.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tonsil_Trouble

HIV off the radar? (3, Insightful)

Geeky (90998) | more than 4 years ago | (#32852762)

I grew up in the 80s when HIV was big news and - here in the UK - TV ads warning of the dangers of unsafe sex were aired. A whole generation seemed to have grown up paranoid (perhaps rightly) about unprotected sex.

That seems to have faded and it's now seen as largely a third world problem. It seems that teenagers and twenty somethings have drifted back into behaviour that predated the advent of AIDS - and more. It's like they've worked out that it's still unlikely to affect them as it hasn't really got a grip in their demographic.

Sadly that's led to a massive increase in other, albeit treatable, STDs.

Re:HIV off the radar? (-1, Troll)

Rene S. Hollan (1943) | more than 4 years ago | (#32852882)

Simple. Criminalize abortion with the penalty being death.

I am not personally opposed to abortion, but I do think we have too many people in the world, and need a "moral" method of how to chose to get rid of, oh, say three billion or so.

Laws which call for the execution of those who risk making more of us without evidence of being able to sustain their progeny strike me as a good start. Make pregnancy out of "wedlock", with a legal definition of "wedlock" altered to focus on support of progeny, rather than present interpretations of "marriage", punishable by death, and it would be a good start.

Just think! You'd get all the religious nutjobs backing the idea! (Though, in retrospect, prohibitions against bastardy did serve a social purpose -- too bad they were tied up in religion instead of economics.)

Re:HIV off the radar? (1)

NiteShaed (315799) | more than 4 years ago | (#32853110)

Make pregnancy out of "wedlock", with a legal definition of "wedlock" altered to focus on support of progeny, rather than present interpretations of "marriage", punishable by death, and it would be a good start.

......and that's because there are absolutely no single people who are more capable of raising a kid than a many couples are? Awesome idea, 'cause we all know that Minnie Driver's kid will be doomed to a life of poverty and suffering, as opposed to the lavish childhood that will be rained upon the children of Cleefus and Jolene at the Happy-Garden trailer park.

Re:HIV off the radar? (0, Troll)

Rene S. Hollan (1943) | more than 4 years ago | (#32854070)

Clearly, *whoosh*!

I specifically suggested defining "wedlock" as (a) having the means to, and (b) the commitment to, raising a child and not as traditional marriage. Call it "childlock" if you prefer: making kids while not able to support them or not committing to support them (this can include adoption out if approved by a court), should be a crime punishable by death.

Make abortion criminal as well (which will attract the support of the fundies), and you have a perfect opportunity to find enough of the fucking "useless third" to legitimately kill them off to make room for us responsible folk.

Suddenly too poor to support your kids? Well, kill those people too, if they can't adopt their kids out. After all, it's a small step beyond jailing them (which costs the taxpayer money), and we currently do jail single parents who have suddenly become far poorer and can't support their kids. Google what qualifies as "Deadbead Dad". Basically, if you earn less than you once did, and can't afford to give your kids what you once did, you are a deadbeat and will be jailed.

It's not that much of a stretch to advance to killing newly poor parents, is it?

WTF dude (0, Flamebait)

linhares (1241614) | more than 4 years ago | (#32855394)

Sieg hiel?

Re:HIV off the radar? (3, Insightful)

smellsofbikes (890263) | more than 4 years ago | (#32854024)

The rise in the use of methamphetamines seems to have driven a lot of this behavioral change: people don't do a great job of thinking long-term under those circumstances. Dan Savage of Savage Love fame has written and talked about this extensively, because meth is such a large factor in the rave/dance scene, particularly the gay dance scene.

What I think is more depressing is a sense of the inevitability of AIDS, coupled with a sense that AIDS is at least manageable (IF you have good medical insurance) that leads a lot of young gay men to pretty much shrug and decide they'll deal with AIDS when they get it. My girlfriend's best friend is a wonderful guy and not particularly stupid, but he was all twitterpated over this boy in California who was HIV positive, and was ready to go out there and move in with the guy, and when we were like "WHY??!?" he shrugged and said "love's worth AIDS." Which makes me question my characterization of him as not particularly stupid, but I think twenty-three-year-olds sometimes have issues actually comprehending what 50 years of an expensive daily drug regimen would be like.

Re:HIV off the radar? (1)

linhares (1241614) | more than 4 years ago | (#32855358)

but I think twenty-three-year-olds sometimes have issues actually comprehending what 50 years of an expensive daily drug regimen would be like.

incredibly insightful remark. Here's more food for thought. http://web.mit.edu/ariely/www/MIT/Papers/Heat_of_Moment.pdf [mit.edu]

Re:HIV off the radar? (1)

randall_burns (108052) | more than 4 years ago | (#32854146)

The US has areas that have a higher rate of _heterosexual_ HIV than African countries. The thing is, that in African, parasites and malaria are major factors in making AIDS spread more rapidly. In the US IV drug use is a major factor. In both countries treatable STD's like Chlamydia and gonorrhea are major factors. However, non-treatable STI's like HSV2 and HPV are also major factors.

  Aids deaths are declining in developed countries due to improved drug treatments. However,the number of folks living with HIV is still rising(though the rate of rise has slowed in some countries). That is in part the consequence of folks living longer after becoming HIV+. HIV is much less a factor in areas that have good public health-just containing treatable STD's has reduced HIV infection rate by 40% in some countries. However, the only country that has really claimed to have reduced its level of HIV infection for any period of time was Cuba--which had a program of mandatory universal testing and Florentine.

Re:HIV off the radar? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32854492)

HPV is not treatable. And it's rampant in young generation. Unless people stop living like animals and like to have sex whoever they could, we have no way to stop this microbes to spread.

Not all it's cracked up to be (5, Informative)

overshoot (39700) | more than 4 years ago | (#32852866)

An HIV researcher's take on the news. [scienceblogs.com]

Re:Not all it's cracked up to be (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32853354)

He's a graduate student that punctuates his analysis with "OMG" and "WTF".

Re:Not all it's cracked up to be (1)

Applekid (993327) | more than 4 years ago | (#32854088)

And? It's a blog, not a dissertation. I can write technical manuals with proper grammar and still speak in idioms and slang in casual conversation.

Re:Not all it's cracked up to be (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32855444)

would you please post your blogspam elsewhere? thanks, --Slashdot's AC

90 percent isn't good enough (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32853242)

The 10 percent that that are immune to the antibodies will take over and become the new 90 percent.

We're home free! (1)

MJMullinII (1232636) | more than 4 years ago | (#32853306)

Andromeda has mutated to a noninfectious form!

I thank you for your 7ime (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32853526)

gave the BSD Ops or any of the spot when done Fo8 AS TO WHICH *BSD

And the news is... ? (4, Interesting)

Mortiss (812218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32853558)

I fail to see the hype. There are plenty of great anti-HIV antibodies which are well described. These have a great cross-reactivity to many HIV strains and are directed against very conserved regions of envelope proteins. The trouble lies that no one so far has been able to find a way to produce them in a patient's body in large amounts. In addition, it is well known that Ab response is not really the way to go. Current HIV vaccines designs are moving towards inducing a innate immunity responses and also focus on T-cell not B-cell mediated immunity.

Note on reverse transcription (4, Informative)

johnpc831 (1852508) | more than 4 years ago | (#32853974)

If my memory of microbiology serves me correctly, the variance in HIV has more to do with the super error-prone reverse transcription process than it does with the virus actually trying to evade destruction. Transcribing DNA from RNA also requires elements of the host cell, which can vary from person to person, and there is no error checking done at all.

Intelligent Design (3, Funny)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 4 years ago | (#32854004)

have been difficult because the virus continuously changes its surface proteins to evade recognition by the immune system.

Yeah, almost like it was intelligently designed to be as difficult to kill as possible.

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