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article imageOp-Ed: AIDS evolving faster than humans, exploiting gene variants

By Paul Wallis     Feb 26, 2009 in Health
The AIDS epidemic is developing a few of the characteristics of a genetic weapon. It targets variable genes in humans, and different strains are showing up in different places in the world. That’s incredibly fast evolution, in a few decades.
The viral Godzilla has been very busy adapting itself to its environments. That’s a problem for developing a vaccine, because so many strains mean a much broader targeting system is required.
The LA Times:
"It's very clear there's a battle going on between humans and this virus, and the virus is evolving to become unrecognized by the immune system," said Dr. Bruce Walker, director of the Ragon Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and one of the researchers.
This is similar to the way bacteria evolve to evade antibiotics, but in the case of viruses, the onset of more virulent forms is becoming a nasty feature of the viral diaspora. A recent case was the development of a Tamiflu immune flu virus, which is now the dominant strain. It's supplanted the other strains, in a couple of years. That's how fast these things operate.
It’s also spectacularly unfunny for treatment, too, because it means onset of the disease will be faster in cases where the virus has the right genes. Hence the rapid spread of the more efficient localized forms of the virus.
Statistically, it’s also quite likely that many infected people are unaware of their infection, so the spread could be very rapid, if a “designer’ version of the virus is contracted.
Information suggests this form of evolution can target population groups with common immune system genes. Meaning that a lot of people are that much more susceptible to the mutations.
It may be that something beyond normal immunization methods is going to have to be used, to deal with the obvious viral ability to dodge bullets.
From the look of this information, any viral immunization protocol has to target the viruses’ own targeting systems. Give them dummy targets, and they’re programmed to go after those targets.
If you want a real mental challenge, become an epidemiologist.
Preferably now.
It’s them or us.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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