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Scientists Expose Weak DNA in HIV

CowboyNeal posted more than 7 years ago | from the go-for-the-throat dept.

Biotech 196

Ace905 writes "The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases announced Thursday that they had discovered a very promising 'weak spot' in the HIV virus. The HIV virus, a progenitor to full blown AIDS has eluded all attempts at a vaccine since it was discovered sometime in the 1970's. The major problem with developing a vaccine initially was isolating the virus. Conventional viruses are often defeated with existing drugs, or after being tested against new compounds. HIV has been unique, and staggering in it's ability to resist all attempts at treatment by mutating its own genetic code. HIV is able to resist, with great effectiveness, any drug or combination drug-therapy that is used against it."

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Cure (1)

jrwr00 (1035020) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051490)

I have a feeling it will just change it self again, this little bugger is a diehard

AIDS is a punishment from God (-1, Troll)

lick mi ballz (1016185) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051654)

who carez about a cure for aids, let all de faggotz die.

Once we have the cure... (2, Funny)

FatSean (18753) | more than 7 years ago | (#18052448)

...we'll release the virus into the population and all the fundamentalists who won't let their children take Guardasil and the AIDS vaccine will watch their genetic line dead-end! That's what you wanted to hear from this god-less progressive thinker, right? Silly trolls.

Re:Cure (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18053444)

Yeah, that damn HIV virus is quite good at killing homosexuals and drug abusers...

Well, you know what they say - if you can't beat 'em, join em.

Ah, yes, the HIV virus... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18051500)

Transmitted through the sharing of unsterilized ATM machines, IC circuits, LCD displays and PIN numbers, the HIV virus is a deadly threat to humanity.

Mod parent up (1)

Jerry Coffin (824726) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051734)

Insightful and funny -- not to mention insightful and funny.


This message brought to you by the department of redundancy department's department of redundancy.

Re:Ah, yes, the HIV virus... (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 7 years ago | (#18052110)

Thank you! You beat me to it :) -1 for allowing the apostrophe in "1970's", though :-P

Re:Ah, yes, the HIV virus... (1)

ne0n (884282) | more than 7 years ago | (#18052564)

Where are all the telephone sanitizers when you need them.

Re:Ah, yes, the HIV virus... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18052758)

On the second ark, where else?

Re:Ah, yes, the HIV virus... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18053092)

I like to call these "TLA Acronyms".

Easy... (4, Funny)

Karganeth (1017580) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051518)

Attack it's weak spot for massive damage.

Re:Easy... (3, Funny)

physicsboy500 (645835) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051886)

Attack it's weak spot for massive damage.

or better yet...

"up, down, up, down, left, right, left, right, A, B, A, B, Select, Start"

Re:Easy... (3, Funny)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051928)

Sweet! Now I can go to the brothel 29 times!

Re:Easy... (1)

Umbrae (866097) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051906)

I suggest a greataxe for a x3 crit roll.

Re:Easy... (1)

Abreu (173023) | more than 7 years ago | (#18052128)

True critical-munchkins use Falchions

Re:Easy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18052156)

keen vorpal falchion with improved critical ftw!

Re:Easy... (1)

Mex (191941) | more than 7 years ago | (#18052574)

And when it starts blinking red, you know you're doing some serious damage and it's about to go down!

You know what else is staggering? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18051522)

That someone who can use a computer doesn't know that IT'S means IT IS.

Re:You know what else is staggering? (1)

TomHandy (578620) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051660)

Or "it has".

Title of the story is wrong (5, Insightful)

Gufry (803129) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051524)

The story that is referenced in the BBC news article refers to the structure of an antibody binding the gp120 surface glycoprotein of HIV. This has nothing to do with 'weak' DNA. The reason why this is exciting is that the b12 region is relatively invariable, whereas most antibodies made against HIV bind variable regions of the surface glycoproteins that are prone to change from virus to virus as the genome is mutated. The majority of anti-HIV antibodies are therefore only useful against specific isolates and can be easily escaped by mutation. Antibodies against the b12 region are therefore potential vaccine candidates.

Re:Title of the story is wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18051578)

b12 region is relatively invariable

Due to the fact that that part of the DNA (well, RNA) doesn't mutate as often for some reason. Since the other mutations make it stronger against drugs and vaccination, this particular spot in its genome is weak.

Re:Title of the story is wrong (3, Informative)

Gufry (803129) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051978)

It is highly improbable that the mutation rate in that part of the genome is lower. The b12 epitope overlaps with part of the CD4 binding site (the point of the Nature article referenced by the BBC report), it is thought to be functionally important for engaging the receptor, mutations in the region are therefore selected against. It is a weak spot in HIV's defense against the host, but not 'weak DNA' which suggests, at least to me, that the DNA is somehow brittle. At any rate, the weak spot is the accessibility of the gp120 epitope to neutralizing antibodies, and that is the weakness that people want to exploit.

AIDS was discovered in 1981 (3, Informative)

Gary W. Longsine (124661) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051862)

The article summary needs further assistance. AIDS was identified in 1981. [wikipedia.org]

Re:AIDS was discovered in 1981 (2, Funny)

hey (83763) | more than 7 years ago | (#18052150)

You trust Wikipedia more than the BBC?

Re:AIDS was discovered in 1981... err 1983/84 (2, Insightful)

Foamy (29271) | more than 7 years ago | (#18052358)

When it comes to reporting on biological sciences, I trust my dog Fido more than I trust the BBC.

1. The BBC article linked says nothing about HIV being discovered in the 1970. RTFA.

2. HIV was discovered in the 1983/1984 timeframe. Who discovered it first is the basis of a long standing dispute between Robert Gallo and Luc Montagnier. Google it.

Re:AIDS was discovered in 1981... err 1983/84 (2, Insightful)

Gary W. Longsine (124661) | more than 7 years ago | (#18053476)

Regarding your 2nd point, and your "err, 1983/84", please allow me to disambiguate.

The Wikipedia article refers to the discovery of AIDS, which is the modern label applied to the clusters of disease cases with similar histories and symptoms which first identified (apparently) in 1981, although it seems some doctors and researchers were aware of unusual disease clusters for a few years leading up to that point. Recognition of AIDS as a disease led to researchers looking for a cause, which led to the subsequent discovery of the HIV virus. In any case, all of this activity took place in the 1980s within a few years, not "sometime in the 1970's".

This page includes some audio clips from interviews with some of the researchers: NIH researchers discuss the history of AIDS [nih.gov] .

Re:AIDS was discovered in 1981 (1)

Gary W. Longsine (124661) | more than 7 years ago | (#18052432)

Clearly you read neither my comment, which clearly refers to the article summary (a Slashdot feature) which incorrectly states that AIDS was discovered "sometime in the 1970's" nor the BBC article, which doesn't mention when AIDS was discoverd. I recalled from prior reading on the topic that AIDS was discovered in the 1980s. Wikipedia happened to get that one right, so I used it as the link. I also noticed that this particular Wikipedia article is extensively referenced.

Go trust yourself.

Re:AIDS was discovered in 1981 (1)

Lars T. (470328) | more than 7 years ago | (#18053080)

You trust Wikipedia more than the BBC?
No, he trusts Wikipedia more than the article summary (which he specifically mentions). If you had actually RTFA, it doesn't make all those stupid claims the summary does.

Imagine, I long back for the time when the summary simply copied parts of the article instead of making up stuff.

Re:AIDS was discovered in 1981 (5, Informative)

capebretonsux (758684) | more than 7 years ago | (#18052208)

You're partly right. It was in 1981 when the disease was discovered/recognized. It was 1982 when the CDC renamed the disease 'AIDS'. Before that, it was known as GRID. (Gay-Related Immune Deficiency) The causitive virus itself wasn't discovered until 1983, and wasn't renamed 'HIV' until 1986.

(Splitting hairs, I know, but it's early and I haven't had my coffee yet...)

Re:AIDS was discovered in 1981 (2, Informative)

karnal (22275) | more than 7 years ago | (#18052814)

At first I thought you were joking - the name "Gay-Related Immune Deficiency" just sounded made up. Turns out I'm mistaken:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gay_Related_Immune_Di sease [wikipedia.org]

Link works, Slash puts the space in for display purposes.....

Re:AIDS was discovered in 1981 (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 7 years ago | (#18052798)

I was surprised to learn from this article summary that the virus that causes AIDS was discovered "sometime in the 1970s", even though the syndrome hadn't even been observed by physicians until the early 1980s. I guess neither Gallo nor Montagnier should get credit for discovering LAV/HTLV/HIV, since they didn't isolate it and identify it as the probable cause of AIDS until around 1983.

The 1970s and 1980s were very different decades. The 1970s were the decade in which gay people came out of the closet and onto the public dance floor, grooving to disco and Crisco. The 1980s brought us AIDS, Reagan, and the Moral Majority, sending us into the hospital wards as patients and caregivers, and into the streets to protest. It shouldn't be that difficult to keep the two decades straight (so to speak).

RNA, not DNA (1)

rgmoore (133276) | more than 7 years ago | (#18053352)

Not to mention that HIV is a retrovirus [wikipedia.org] , meaning that its genetic code is stored in RNA rather than DNA. The process of converting RNA back to DNA is notoriously inaccurate, which is why it mutates so fast. If it were a DNA virus it wouldn't be nearly as difficult to make a vaccine.

Re:Title of the story is wrong (5, Informative)

picob (1025968) | more than 7 years ago | (#18052146)

Antibodies against the b12 region are therefore potential vaccine candidates

b12 is a family of human antibodies that targets this viral protein gp120. gp120 is therefore the candidate for the vaccine. For vaccines we usually just inject viral protein(s) - as we would in this case - or a weak or dead form of the virus, and let the body make the antibodies (the b12 family in this case).

The talk about 'region' in this article probably refers to a site on the RNA of the virus: this region, encoding protein gp120, is not much changed by mutations - HIV codes genes in RNA since it's a retrovirus.

Also, since HIV targets the immune system, when someone has AIDS - the later stages of the disease in which the immune system is broken (targeted by HIV are T-cells) - vaccination may no longer work, since the immune system is no longer capable of producing antibodies, unless the T-cell count can be brought back to a level in which antibodies can be made.

Re:Title of the story is wrong (1)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 7 years ago | (#18052784)

so in the line of getting chicken pox to protect against small pox, what other viruses have gp120 or stimulate the production of b12 antibodies? Maybe a virus needs to be engineered: easy to beat, easy to spread, and provides immune systems with the right tools to potentially kill HIV.

what have they been doing all these years? (1)

flushingmemos (1022877) | more than 7 years ago | (#18052218)

I'm mostly surprised they're still testing surface proteins. You'd think they'd have taken every bit of what HIV presents to the body, cloned it, and tested it as a vaccine. 25 years of work and they are just now testing this protein? WTF?!

Interesting documentary (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18052688)

For those of you that are interested in this story, I highly recommend the PBS Frontline documentary The Age of AIDS [pbs.org] . Being too young to really understand the events in the news which unfolded around its discovery, it truly changed the way I look at this disease.

Re:Title of the story is wrong (1)

BillX (307153) | more than 7 years ago | (#18052918)

Maybe they meant weak in the sense of 'weak key vulnerability'. Kind of a stretch, but in each case the 'protection' comes from something constantly changing to unique values, and there's an exploitable weakness produced by this not happening as it should. This is Slashdot, after all...

Race now... (1)

jacks smirking reven (909048) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051532)

To patent this... and patent the part of the virus in question.

The Pfizer receptor!!!

Re:Race now... (1)

LordEd (840443) | more than 7 years ago | (#18052120)

Patenting a virus... Would that mean I could sue them for their patent infringing on me? It sounds too much like a Soviet Russia joke (patent infringes you?)

Re:Race now... (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#18053000)

Patenting a virus...

(doorbell rings)
Black suited goon: Hi, I'm Jack from the CDC. We'd like to have a little talk with you about "your" virus, care to accompany me to my office?

Re:Race now... (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#18052980)

The Pfizer receptor!!!


      Unfortunately the Pfizer receptor activates the Roche second messenger that has to go through the Merck gateway in the nucleus to bind to the Schering site on the DNA molecule. I doubt your drug will work...

Great, but... (2, Interesting)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051560)

How many "this could be the cure for AIDS/Cancer/Virginity" articles get posted on /. every month?

I'll believe it when the treatment actually gets used to eradicate the disease.

Guess I'll go back to holding my breath.

Re:Great, but... (1)

Zonekeeper (458060) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051674)

/Virginity
Finding a cure on Slashdot for virginity is like finding a cure for italian food in Italy.

The cure for Virginity is in hand... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18051708)

...oh, I forgot, this is /. The only thing in hand is...

Re:Great, but... (1)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 7 years ago | (#18052510)

How many "this could be the cure for AIDS/Cancer/Virginity" articles get posted on /. every month?
There would be less dupes, but they have the same genetic make up as the HIV virus and are able to mutate their own content, making them difficult to catch...

For the last time... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18051566)

For the last time... it's the HI Virus or HIV like it's the AT Machine or the ATM

isn't this just anthrophomorphism? (1)

2TecTom (311314) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051588)

Although it may be adaptive, as a strain or population, surely no one is claiming that individual virus are able to change in any way?

Imho, science has no place for such literary free license.

Re:isn't this just anthrophomorphism? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18051884)

Yeah, pretending that HIV "does" things intentionally to avoid vaccination is highly misleading. The problem is that viruses in general replicate quickly, and HIV in particular mutates very quickly from one generation to the next, while remaining viable. This lets an infection explore the parameter space of possible genotypes very fast. To be effective, a treatment needs to target some relatively stable feature of the virus, and eliminate the virus faster than the population can mutate away from that vulnerability. Unfortunately, HIV usually wins on both counts.

Re:isn't this just anthrophomorphism? (1)

Lars T. (470328) | more than 7 years ago | (#18053130)

Although it may be adaptive, as a strain or population, surely no one is claiming that individual virus are able to change in any way?

Imho, science has no place for such literary free license.
"The virus is able to mutate rapidly to avoid detection by the immune system, and is also swathed by a near-impenetrable cloak of sugary molecules which block access by antibodies.

But certain parts of the virus must remain relatively unchanged so that it can continue to bind to and enter human cells."

Re:isn't this just anthrophomorphism? (1)

Wandering Wombat (531833) | more than 7 years ago | (#18053316)

Attributing human characteristics to posters like you is also a little bit of free license. Yes, the individual virii are able to change and adapt, because that is quite clearly what the article says. The composition of the 'shell' of the virus is sugar-based, with the compositional molecules constantly changing to prevent any specific, mass-produced biological defense from penetrating the shell. The one region in question, though, has the same composition regardless of the changing morphology around it, making it an excellent target for specific binding agents.
 



But what do I know, I just read the article...

Hello, my name is Andrew Beckett... (-1, Offtopic)

Nitroadict (1005509) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051592)

...and I approve of this message.

Fact check? (5, Insightful)

yellowstone (62484) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051618)

The HIV virus [...] was discovered sometime in the 1970's
The first case of AIDS was reported in 1981; the HIV virus was discovered in 1983 (reference [nih.gov] ) One day you kids will learn all those super-secret ways of finding stuff on teh intraweb [google.com] ...

Re:Fact check? (4, Informative)

DrKyle (818035) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051804)

Also:

Scientists Expose Weak DNA in HIV

This is about finding a stable surface protein on the surface of HIV which may be a good target for the production of an antigen which would elicit a stable immune response as a number of people have antibodies which target the same site. This has nothing to do with DNA, the submitter is just biologically illiterate.

Re:Fact check? (4, Informative)

elyons (934748) | more than 7 years ago | (#18052944)

Also, HIV is a retrovirus. For this family of viruses, their genome spends the majority of its time, and especially as an infectious particle, as RNA. It is only after infraction does its genome get replicated into DNA (through a process known as reverse transcription using a virally encoding RNA dependent DNA polymerase known as reverse transcriptase.) After being copied into DNA, the pro-virus is then inserted into the host's genome where RNA molecules are made (transcribed) to make viral proteins and full length copies of its genome for packaging into new infectious viral particles. This is a very import aspect of the virus' life-cycle and has many implications for some of the anti-retroviral therapies [wikipedia.org] on the market.

Re:Fact check? (1)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 7 years ago | (#18053700)

The sad thing is what you just mentioned is high-school biology (I took it in sophomore year and covered all of that stuff).

Obviously someone failed it.

Re:Fact check? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051816)

If it was labeled in 1981, it seems reasonable to me that there was somebody treating something and looking for a name for it in 1979.

(the wording of the summary is indeed awkward)

Checking the checker. :) (1)

JoeGee (85189) | more than 7 years ago | (#18053422)

The first known case of HIV was in 1959, determined posthumously by samples taken from an exhumed body [about.com] . The virus is older than that, and like ebola [cdc.gov] is thought to have crossed over from an animal vector due to the ingestion of bush meat [google.com] . In the late 1970's [google.com] unusual symptoms began manifesting themselves in certain populations [aegis.com] .

You are correct that the virus was not officially "discovered" until the 1980's, but its effects were first noticed in the 1970's, and tests have determined it was active in the human population long before that. :) Giving the original poster the benefit of a doubt, perhaps they meant to state that the effects of HIV were first discovered in the 1970's?

Peace,

-Joe G.

Rejoice (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18051682)

The owners of roughly 1 million Slashdot accounts rejoice as they hear the news: They can now fuck around without fear of AIDS!

what BS... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18051698)

Conventional viruses are often defeated with existing drugs, or after being tested against new compounds

Not at all. Viruses are extremely, extremely difficult to defeat. There is a reason cold & flu are still around.

How many drugs are effective against viruses? Very, very few.

Re:what BS... (0)

ElephanTS (624421) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051724)

... and they're called anti-viral drugs. Amazing, no?

Re:what BS... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18051834)

... and they're called anti-viral drugs. Amazing, no?

You are correct. However, they are not very effective. Amazing, no?

Re:what BS... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18051892)

You are correct. However, they are not very effective. Amazing, no?

So how much has the life expectancy of an HIV+ individual increased since the use of combination antiviral drug therapy? And, if they are not very effective, why are governments around the world scrambling to stockpile tamiflu?

Amazing, no?

Re:what BS... (2, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#18052952)

So how much has the life expectancy of an HIV+ individual increased since the use of combination antiviral drug therapy?

      Life expectancy has increased a great deal, with one catch. You need 98% compliance to the treatment regimen. Be sure not to miss too many doses either now or 20 years from now, or you WILL develop AIDS.

why are governments around the world scrambling to stockpile tamiflu?

      Because a drowning man will clutch at a straw, and it's better to be seen doing "something" than doing "nothing". Tamiflu is not particularly effective against H5N1 influenza.

Re:what BS... (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#18052902)

they're called anti-viral drugs.

      Anti viral drugs like acyclovir, valcyclovir, foscarnet, amantadine, etc at best slow down viral replication and limit the damage done by the virus. They do NOT eliminate the virus, nor do they "cure" a person's viral infection.

The "HIV Virus"? (-1, Redundant)

Speare (84249) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051720)

Found a weakness in the HIV Virus, eh? Was this study funded by the NSF Foundation? Will it be published in the journal, Journal of Medicine? Or will the NSTA Association have anything to do with it? Australia's ARC Research Council may be involved, also.

Can't wait to cut'n'paste this reply into the next Slashdot dupe on this story, too!

((I was the first charter member of the Committee to Stamp Out and Eradicate Superfluous Redundancies Group.))

Re:The "HIV Virus"? (3, Informative)

Bender0x7D1 (536254) | more than 7 years ago | (#18052094)

From the article:

They have published an atomic-level image in Nature showing the antibody, b12, attacking part of a protein on surface of the virus.

So, yes it has been published - and Nature is a top-tier journal.

Re:The "HIV Virus"? (1)

Lightman_73 (183090) | more than 7 years ago | (#18052978)

I'm reading the Nature article right now, and nowhere the presumed "atomic-level image [..] showing the antibody b12" is to be found.
Therefore, I tend to accept the BBC report with a grain of salt. It's much more interesting to say "oooh! they published an image of the antibody!" than to say "well, they published an article full of biomedical details in which we don't understand anything, with a huge table full of numbers (yes! numbers!) and a couple of strange colored picture we don't know how they made"...

One word : journalists. Bah. :)

That said, the article is indeed interesting, but it's not the first time the gp120 glycoprotein is being targeted with some kind of drug. And they're still at the in-vitro phase, not even at the ex-vivo trial phase...

viruses have no DNA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18051738)

and the title is complete bull. Nowhere in the article is there any mention of 'DNA'. wtg slashdot...

Now to get the trial going and save lives... (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051848)

Fully 1/10th of sub-Saharan Africans are at risk. It's already created the largest ophan population since the Spanish Flu of 1918 (my great-granparents died in that one). I hope the antigen attack trials go quickly and smoothly, and the vaccine gets into circulation post-haste.

After that's done, there's still TB, malaria, thypoid, cholera, and unmitigated greed to go after.

Re:Now to get the trial going and save lives... (1)

k3vlar (979024) | more than 7 years ago | (#18052274)

Actually, after HIV, we should focus all of our efforts on unmitigated greed. I think once we find the cure for that, the solutions to the rest of the problems will progress much more quickly. Provided we even need to find solutions at that point.

Choose wisely (2, Interesting)

Joebert (946227) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051888)

Over 30 years & only a single weak spot is discovered.
Do you destroy it, or learn to get it to work in your favor ?

Re:Choose wisely (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18052846)

How do you make a virus, that kills millions and millions of people every year regardless of what their sexual preference is, "work in our favor"?

Some kind of racist genocidal remark or just not bothering to state your thoughts? Either way, you sir are an idiot.

Obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18051898)

You have viruses like this when you use a system that wasn't intelligently designed. That's why I'm glad to use Linux so I don't have to worry about these kind of threats.

People get what they deserved.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18051976)

Viruses only have RNA, right? Not true DNA?

Re:Correct me if I'm wrong, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18052080)

See: Retrovirus [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Correct me if I'm wrong, but... (1)

torstenvl (769732) | more than 7 years ago | (#18052104)

You're wrong. Don't mention it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virus#Genetic_materia l [wikipedia.org]

Re:Correct me if I'm wrong, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18052222)

You're right in a general case, but HIV is a retrovirus, [wikipedia.org] and does in fact posses RNA only. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Correct me if I'm wrong, but... (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#18052840)

Depends on the virus. Some are DNA viruses, some are RNA. Some are single strand, others double strand. Etc...

Why is it... (3, Funny)

MsGeek (162936) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051980)

...that when I RTFA, the only thing I could think of was the Yavin briefing on the Death Star?

"Great shot, kid, that was one-in-a-million!"

God, I'm geeky...

Re:Why is it... (0, Offtopic)

Panzergheist (609926) | more than 7 years ago | (#18052512)

"Great shot, kid, that was one-in-a-million!"

I have a feeling this is what most geeks are thinking when they lose their virginity.

There is no 'Weak DNA' in HIV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18051992)

There is no weak DNA in HIV. Why? HIV is a retrovirus, that means the HIV genome is RNA. The RNA is transcribed into DNA using an enzyme called a reverse transcriptase. In reverse transcription the DNA is not 'proofread' by the cell to ensure that the DNA is a good copy of the original. Thus, normal mutations that would be corrected in a typical DNA replication process are left in the DNA of a retrovirus, leading to a very high mutation rate. No part of the transcribed DNA is immune to this mutation, so there is no 'weak' DNA.

Not DNA, RNA (4, Informative)

theshibboleth (968645) | more than 7 years ago | (#18052202)

HIV is a retrovirus so any weak spots would be found in the RNA, not the nonexistent DNA. Interestingly, the BBC decided to sidestep this issue by not mentioning any nucleic acids at all.

Re:Not DNA, RNA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18052458)

why is this not moded up? he is fuckin right and this information is important. hiv is a retrovirus!

Re:Not DNA, RNA (1)

Foamy (29271) | more than 7 years ago | (#18053024)

Well the integrated copy of the genome is indeed DNA.


Linky [nih.gov]

Re:Not DNA, RNA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18053416)

yeah but then it is not called hiv virion but hiv provirus

The HIV virus has actually never been seen...so... (-1, Flamebait)

moosejaw99 (1052622) | more than 7 years ago | (#18052206)

I am unsure how many of you do research on this subject, but I recommend that people watch the documentary The Other Side of AIDS. It has amazing interviews and explanations by a Nobel Prize winning scientist for his discovery in AIDS meds, as well as Dr Peter Duesberg, a professor of molecular cell biology from the University of California who shed real light on alot of the bogus statements made about HIV. If you explore these areas, and find out that the HIV has actually never been seen, just the antibodies...supposedly...how on earth are scientists finding a vaccination or any treatment for an unknown/unseen virus? I wish I was kidding.

Re:The HIV virus has actually never been seen...so (4, Informative)

Unc-70 (975866) | more than 7 years ago | (#18052820)

What do you mean 'HIV has never been seen...'? That's just not true [sciencedirect.com]

Re:The HIV virus has actually never been seen...so (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18052926)

The parent to your post writes in a similar way to several other kooks on here. I have the feeling they are all the same guy.

The HIV virus HAS been seen, many times. (2, Insightful)

Mutatis Mutandis (921530) | more than 7 years ago | (#18052998)

Only wish you were not serious, but sadly, apparently you are. Which raises the question how people actually can believe such utter and complete nonsense?

The HIV virus has not been seen by the eye or by light microscopy, as it is only 110 to 140 nanometer in diameter and below practical optical resolution. Although a group at the university of Chicago has been able to visualize something of its behavior by fluorescently tagging it. Of course then it is just a bright dot. However, HIV has been visualized numerous times by electron microscopy, both transmission EM and scanning EM. We also have structures of many of the proteins that constitute the HIV virus, from X-ray crystallography. There are still gaps in our knowledge of the structure of HIV, but in fact it is now much better documented than many other viruses. We also have tens of thousands of genome sequences, partial or whole, of the HIV virus.

We know that HIV causes AIDS. We know that drugs that block the replication cycle of HIV can prevent AIDS, at least for some years. We know how many of these drugs dock on the proteins of HIV. We know how the virus can develop resistance to these drugs, because we can find the patterns in the genome of the virus. We can predict a patient's future health by studying the genome of the virus. We know what mutations in which locations on which proteins are responsible for resistance. We know that if you give drugs with better profile against resistant viruses to people who have failed treatment, they can suppress the symptoms of AIDS. We know that amount of viruses and of CD4 positive immune cells that are destroyed by HIV, correlates with a patient's health. We know why a few lucky people can carry HIV for a long time without developing AIDS, and which mutations in the human genome are responsible for that. By now, HIV must nearly be the best characterized of all human viruses, although it is a difficult target.

So please, please, refrain from repeating a myth. This is not just some innocent scientific confusion. Ultimately, stories like this do have the potential to kill people, and if you repeat them, you are making yourself an accessory to murder.

Re:The HIV virus HAS been seen, many times. (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18053694)

"We know that HIV causes AIDS."
That's convinced me!
You idiot.
The DEFINITION of 'AIDS' is a circular argument.
So-called 'AIDS' is only 'AIDS' if the victim is 'HIV positive'. Therefore ALL cases of 'AIDS' are caused by 'HIV'. But the HIV tests are fraudulent. They all say so on the box. (For legal reasons.)
If HIV was the cause of AIDS, there would be TENS OF THOUSANDS of Americans dying EVERY YEAR from AIDS, because, according to the CDC, up to HALF of all people who are so-called 'HIV positive' don't KNOW they are 'infected', and there are 500,000 of these people... How come that figure never goes up? How come at least ONE TENTH of them don't DIE from 'AIDS' every YEAR?

"Ultimately, stories like this do have the potential to kill people, and if you repeat them, you are making yourself an accessory to murder."
Oh puh-lease... You idiot. People who push AZT and other DNA chain terminators, as 'medicine' for a non-existent virus, are the MURDERERS, dumbass...

Re:The HIV virus has actually never been seen...so (0, Flamebait)

Stickerboy (61554) | more than 7 years ago | (#18053002)

I am unsure how many of you do research on this subject, but I recommend that people watch the documentary The Other Side of AIDS. It has amazing interviews and explanations by a Nobel Prize winning scientist for his discovery in AIDS meds, as well as Dr Peter Duesberg, a professor of molecular cell biology from the University of California who shed real light on alot of the bogus statements made about HIV. If you explore these areas, and find out that the HIV has actually never been seen, just the antibodies...supposedly...how on earth are scientists finding a vaccination or any treatment for an unknown/unseen virus? I wish I was kidding.

I wish you were too. Because now you're just an ill-informed crackpot, just like the filmmakers who made "The Other Side of AIDS". How on Earth this got modded "Insightful" is beyond me. For those of you not in the know, "The Other Side Of AIDS" is just the latest bunch of idiots trying to push the agenda that HIV does not cause AIDS. And that HIV positives are better off not taking antiretrovirals. If you really believe that pile of stinking shit, moosejaw, I can suggest a carefully monitored experiment that will win you a Nobel Prize at the very least. You like Nobel Prizes, right? And please, recruit all of your HIV-is-not-the-cause buddies.

Experiment:
Test yourselves for HIV. Make sure you're negative. Now inject yourselves with a large bolus of HIV-infected blood. Do nothing out of the ordinary for 10 ten years, take no antiretroviral drugs, and get back to us with the results.
Since HIV doesn't cause AIDS, right, you'll be great, you'll have disproved 99.9999999% of conventional medical wisdom, and earned yourself an easy million from the Prize committee. Congratulations! Now get to it.

To tone it down a little, the easiest way to refute your idiocy is to refer to the many and varied mortality outcomes-based clinical trials of antiretroviral drugs in AIDS patients. I suggest using the search functions on PubMed or even a general journal like NEJM or JAMA. All approved antiretroviral drugs in combination regimes, when taken as prescribed, extend the lifespan of AIDS patients well beyond the life expectancy of an AIDS patient not taking antiretrovirals. Dispute that. If AIDS was not caused by HIV, CD4 counts would not improve, and patients would not live one year longer than AIDS patients who weren't taking antiretrovirals.

Will the human population ever get to a level of education where we don't have to rehash 20 year-old debates over basic crap like "What causes AIDS?" "Why can't I see a pretty picture of AIDS on a microscope?" "What if we're all wrong, I'm a genius, and HIV doesn't cause AIDS?" HIV deniers remind me a lot of the nutty strict Creationists on evolution.

Re:The HIV virus has actually never been seen...so (1)

rbarreira (836272) | more than 7 years ago | (#18053364)

I read that there was some guy who actually wanted to inject himself with HIV to prove it didn't cause AIDS. Ah, here it is [wikipedia.org] .

Re:The HIV virus has actually never been seen...so (2, Informative)

moosejaw99 (1052622) | more than 7 years ago | (#18053440)

I should have added to my post... Do no flame if you haven't seen the doc. I couldn't believe it myself...However I verified the facts and have questioned many experts on the subject. Please show me a photo of HIV, and not a computer model guessing what it looks like. Please show me the original study showing that HIV is the cause of AIDS. You won't be able to because they don't exist. Watch the show, and take the word of the experts who speak about it. Don't shoot the messenger. Also..this is only my second or third post on all of slashdot, so please don't confuse me with someone else.

Re:The HIV virus has been sequenced (2, Informative)

brit74 (831798) | more than 7 years ago | (#18053464)

> If you explore these areas, and find out that the HIV has actually never been seen, just the antibodies...

Uh, right. You know that the we've sequenced the HIV virus, right? Not only has it been sequenced, but it's been sequenced so many times that we can see the evolution of it's genetic code over time, and can tell which people infected which people. We can tell that the "Libyan seven" are innocent. We can tell that HIV evolved from SIV (the simian version of HIV) multiple times.

Re: Libyan Seven
"By looking at the genome sequence of the virus found in children at Bambino Gesu hospital, we established that the estimated date of the most common recent ancestor for each cluster predated March 1998, sometimes by several years."
http://observer.guardian.co.uk/world/story/0,,1974 040,00.html [guardian.co.uk]

"The story revolves around Dr. David Acer, a Florida dentist who died in 1990 from complications of AIDS. Dr. Acer's death would have been far from remarkable at the time -- the AIDS epidemic was quite visible by the late 1980s, and one death earned no more attention than any other. Dr. Acer's story, however, extends beyond his private life and into his practice. You see, Dr. Acer had multiple patients that had been diagnosed as infected with HIV within a couple of years of his death." Sequence analysis of HIV in his patients shows that he infected his patients.
http://scienceblogs.com/evolgen/2006/06/phylogeny_ friday_9_june_2006_1.php [scienceblogs.com]

H2G2 (1)

k1e0x (1040314) | more than 7 years ago | (#18052224)

Gods "revenge on gays" wasn't perfect? Well, that about wraps it up for god.. I'm moving on to studying zebras now.

You mean... (4, Funny)

istartedi (132515) | more than 7 years ago | (#18052332)

You mean this vast plague upon mankind has a single point of failure? Wow! They really are close then. I suggest two possible courses of action from here: 1. Figure out how to plug a Powerbook into it, then type furiously. 2. Fly along the equator of the virus at top speed and fire into its exhaust port.

HIV's Dirty Little Secret (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 7 years ago | (#18052762)

HIV is an RNA virus, NOT a DNA virus. Medical science knows a lot about treating DNA based viruses; But there are little to no treatments for RNA viruses. HIV has caused researchers to consider the RNA cycle, also. I wish them luck, and good hunting.

Re:HIV's Dirty Little Secret (3, Informative)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 7 years ago | (#18053308)

More specifically, HIV is a retrovirus. This means that as a standalone virus it contains RNA, but when it enters a cell, it uses reverse transcriptase to transcribe its RNA sequence into the equivalent DNA strand, which the cell's normal transcription/translation mechanism picks up and turns into the proteins and RNA that make the virus work.

It's the reverse transcription process that has a high error rate, which is why HIV's rate of mutation is so high. This results in a lot of nonviable DNA, but the virus takes years to work anyway. Eventually, some of these mutations result in a change in the proteins that are attacked by the various HIV drugs so that those drugs no longer work.

As for whether your statement about knowledge in treating various types of viruses is true or not, I don't know, but scientists do know an awful lot about HIV in particular. Each drug is meant to target a specific protein coded by the virus's genome. Being able to use drugs to target a "weak spot" (a spot that is brittle versus mutation) in the genome directly would be a major coup against the virus. This would be a great application for the grid computing mentioned in an earlier /. article. [slashdot.org]

It's or its? (1)

Radak (126696) | more than 7 years ago | (#18052850)

HIV has been unique, and staggering in it's ability to resist all attempts at treatment by mutating its own genetic code.

Hey, at least if you try it both ways, you'll be right half the time.

Hint: Possessive its has no apostrophe.
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