Posts Tagged “HIV”

Viruses are defined as “ small highly specialized infectious agent”. This definition has been common for the last decades or century to define nature’s microorganisms, which tend to infect most living organisms from humans down to bacteria. Now, it seems that the definition would be widened to include even these little malicious computer codes –that they used to call worms– but now the word virus would seem more appropriate.

In July 2010, a malicious code was discovered and assigned the name “Stuxnet” the powerful virus, and –unlike the previous ones– this one simulates the biological virus in the way it acts. Speaking biologically, a common flu virus would enter the human body through the respiratory tract, bind to special receptors and infect the entire respiratory tract causing the common flu symptoms, this could have been applied to older computer viruses. The new Stuxnet virus, however, would resemble a more specialized biological viruses as hepatitis viruses or HIV; the Stuxnet virus gains entrance to the computer via “Universal Serial Bus“ –commonly known as “USB port”– and then spreads like wild fire in the entire network its device is connected to.

Up to this part, Stuxnet would be a common garden-variety computer virus, but this is not enough for Stuxnet. Just like HIV searches for CD4 cells and hepatitis virus searches for hepatic cells, the malicious code Stuxnet searchs the infected computer for its target, which is a special control program called “Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) developed by Siemens Co. for operation of industrial systems, and used to control manufacturing processes from centralized locations, for example it can be used to alter the motor work rate of a machine on a factory floor, or the pressure in a pipeline, so typical environments could be oil pipelines and power plants.

This highly specialized virus is also unique in its mode of action; the sophisticated virus uses a four “zero-day” vulnerabilities –zero-day vulnerability or zero-day attack is a security hole or breach in a program which the developer is unaware of. Using four of these zero-day vulnerabilities is quite weird because these zero-days are of great value ( for hacker and malware makers )and using 4 of them in a single code is quite odd. Again the code still surprises us with its resemblance to biological viruses, for examples, like flu virus that has the ability to mutate and change forms via multiple ways, and like any bacterium that acquires resistance through plasmids or other pathways, Stuxnet can upgrade itself via peer-to-peer architecture (p2p, a distributed application architecture that partitions tasks or workloads between peers) allowing it to be updated after the initial command and control server (the initial computer) is disabled.

Symantec Corp., one of the world computer security leaders, estimates that 45.000 computers have been infected, and like biological threats and biological warfare viruses, Symantec also estimates nearly 30.000 of these infected computers in Iran only, and earlier today (27 September 2010) undisclosed Iranian sources said the nuclear plant have indeed been hit by Stuxnet with no damage to the plant.

I guess Arnold Schwarzenegger (The terminator) wasn’t lying after all when he said “I’ll be back!! “



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So you drive over to the lab to have your blood work? In the near future, that would totally be ‘old-school’. Even if you so much as consider making that journey, you have GOT to be tempted to please think again! Time has been proven, repeatedly, to be of the essence, both for the sake of the diagnosis & treatment and the patient’s quality of life. For instance, imagine the convenience it will provide for an HIV-infected patient, who is what a lab technician would probably call a regular customer, due to the regular follow-up tests needed to monitor the development and treatment. Through a $10 piece of hardware connected to your cell phone, you will have your medical test results ready on the go. All you’d have to do is insert a slide containing a drop or two of your blood and leave the rest of the work up to the chip, as demonstrated on a prototype. I will even bet that, those who choose not to use it, would be charged extra for lab work!!!

The Ozcan Research Group at UCLA will already begin their field tests in Africa concerning the new cell phone/microscope gadget. I had to see to believe. Aside from all the engineering & technological aspects, which I am sure are quite many, if this were to be actually implicated worldwide, the possibilities of its application are endless, including, but not necessarily limited to, pretty much all of the blood-borne diseases. For instance, malaria, which is fairly common in many African countries, can be instantly diagnosed. The hospital would get the patient’s blood picture, through the cellular networks for analysis by physicians and there you have it.

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A team of Harvard scientists has taken the first step to solve mystery about why HIV patients are more susceptible to TB infection.

According to USAID, 42 million people are HIV infected & almost one third of them are also TB infected. It is believed that HIV interferes with the cellular and molecular mechanisms used by the lungs to fight TB infection. The HIV replication cycle

This mystery has been solved when scientists extracted immune cells called “alveolar macrophages” from the lungs of asymptomatic HIV +ve patients as well as healthy patients ” HIV –ve.” They observed a decrease in response towards TB bacterium in HIV +ve patients when compared to HIV –ve patients.

A further examination of lung specimens showed an increased level of a molecule called IL-10, which elevates the amount of a protein called “BCL-3” in alveolar macrophages and this reduces their ability to ward off TB infection.

It seems that HIV increases severity of TB infection, where both represent two of the most significant health challenges in human history.

Source: Science Daily.

Image credits: The HIV replication cycle.

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South Djoum ChimpIf you try to search in the library or over the internet for AIDS, you will find a huge amount of information available. You will also figure out that all scientists reach a dead end at the step of treating or vaccinating against AIDS. Their stop makes you never stop thinking: why can’t they continue? Why is there no cure for such a disease? Or at least why can’t they stop the progress of this illness by simply making a vaccine? It is like reading the same book millions of times without understanding its end, then you re-read the last chapters but still “YOU CAN’T”!!

I think that we need to restart reading the book from its beginning. We need to re-read about the origin of AIDS infections, to know more about HIV genome, and how its genes function; then we may know how to slow down or terminate progression of the virus inside the human body or at least to stop its passage from an individual to another. Hence, we may be able to read the book again and this time we can understand its end.

AIDS was initially reported on June 5th, 1981. But, it is more precise to mention the first documented AIDS case, which was in 1959. At that time, no one was able to define such an illness; however, scientists did a favor for the humankind by preserving the infected tissues till someone would be able to define HIV, i.e. after 1981. I may ask why not before 1959? But who can answer a question like this?

The origin of AIDS has so many controversial theories, including conspiracy theories. One of these is that HIV arose as a result of leakage in the US governmental or military labs during the development of a biological weapon. You may ask Dr. Leonard G. Horowitz (the author of Emerging Viruses: AIDS & Ebola. Nature, Accident or Intentional? And Death in the Air: Globalism, Terrorism and Toxic Warfare) for evidence to prove such an idea. As wikipedia page of ” AIDS origins opposed to scientific consensus” mentions his theory which claims that AIDS virus was engineered by such U.S. Government defense contractors as Litton industries for the purposes of bio-warfare and “population control”.

Dr. Alan Cantwell (the author of AIDS and the Doctors of Death) supported this theory, by naming one scientist that led the US military research on homosexual and bisexual men between 1979 and 1981; he attributed these research activities to Dr. Wolf Szmuness. And, when Dr. Alan was asked about the cases that were reported before 1979, his answer was that the American media masked the truth at that time! This has been also mentioned on “AIDS origins opposed to scientific consensus” Wikipedia webpage.

Another unreliable hypothesis had been advanced by Edward Hooper, as he accused Hilary Koprowski, the polish virologist and immunologist who was preparing polio vaccine using tissue cultures from non-human primates during 1950s, that he might have transferred AIDS from monkeys to human. This idea couldn’t be evidenced when one of these vaccine vials had been checked in 2000 to show negative HIV or SIV (Simian immune-deficiency virus that infects chimpanzees). Also, by checking the protocols of that old research, it is clear they were working on monkeys’ kidney cells that cannot transmit AIDS. But can one negative vial become a prove for the whole negativity?!

The most accepted and recent theory assumes that HIV is an evolution from SIV. This Cameroon Chimpanzees theory was suggested in 2006 after a study on genetic samples from more than 1300 chimpanzees within 7 years by Dr. Beatrice Hahn. It seems that one person had been bitten by one of these apes or got cut while he or she was trying to slaughter one of these animals, maybe for eating purposes!!

If this Chimpanzee in the picture is the main suspect now for HIV triggering on earth, the question now is: Do we have current reports for the same transmission from apes to human? If yes or no, I think we need to re-study and search that SIV which might tell us something about its “daughter” HIV (as accepted by most of the scientists). It is like reading the book from its beginning not the last chapters, sure it will tell us new things.. Like what? I really dont know, it may be like the first idea that led to inventing the nuclear bomb, would you believe me if I told you more than 60 years ago that there is an idea to bombard the nucleus to make a huge bomb? It was just an idea, but the know how was not known. I think it is the same for the AIDS book: we need to re-read but we still don’t know what is going to happen after that reading. All I know that we need to re-read with a new vision, not the same ordinary way of reading.

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Aethlon Medical has developed a new device called Hemopurifier® which acts a lot like the usual hemodialysis machine used in patients with end-stage renal disease but targets a different kind of particle within the blood, it captures viruses! The machine uses thin filters to capture & remove viruses from the blood. This requires an artery to act as an entry point of the blood to the machine, where it is filtered, and then sent back to the body, only cleaner.

The whole blood circulation passes through the machine almost once every 8 minutes. The entire process itself requires a few hours. Needless to say, this might prove to be revolutionary in the treatment of all sorts of viral infections: measles, mumps, hepatitis, west-nile virus, smallpox, HIV, avian flu, even the seemingly harmless human flu..just to name a few.

The device has already received a lot of attention & was in fact awarded. In a pre-clinical study, an astonishing 99.4% of H5N1 flu virus, as verified by real-time PCR,  was eliminated from the patient’s blood within an operating time of 6 hours.

This state-of-the-art device functions through using antibodies to capture viruses & toxins before their actual attack on the human organs. Patients can even be started on the machine before the physicians find out the cause of the disease. 

Source: ScienceDaily

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U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention 

A new study reveals that people infected with bilharzia, or other parasitic worms, are more likely to become infected with HIV than normal persons. This was proven through an experiment where the infectious dose of an HIV-like virus necessary to infect rhesus macaques was found to be 17 times lower in animals with acute schistosomiasis than in controls. The animals co-infected with Schistosoma mansoni also showed higher memory cell concentrations of virus casuing a more rapid progression to AIDS.

These findings prove the assumption that persons living in highly endemic areas for parasitic worms have a higher risk of acquiring HIV/AIDS.

Previous studies by other research groups have demonstrated that the presence of schistosome infections increases viral replication in animal or human hosts with established immunodeficiency virus infections.

Both findings are surely to have profound public health implications for the under-developed areas of the world where both parasitic worms and HIV virus are endemic.

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Nothing made the world highly concerned about the immune system, what are its components? How does it work?, better than the emergence of HIV in the 80s. It’s a disaster, but made us know more about the immune system. Anatomy of AIDS virus

HIV’s target is CD4 receptors, which are present mostly on T-helper cells. It has glycoprotein 120 (Why do they call it 120 any way?! Is it the UV absorption again?! Or maybe it has 120 amino acids?!) It’s on its envelope. By recognition & binding to the CD4 receptors, it kills the T-helper which result in suppression of the whole cell-mediated immunity mechanism. It’s like cutting the snack’s head off. T-helper cells are responsible for giving signals (Interleukins) to other members of the IS so they can kill the viruses. By the whole suppression idea, the IS is turned off, the human body will be opened like your friend’s heart to you, to all possible invaders of m.o.

When we talked about HIV, the professor told us:” You wanna fight HIV, young docs full of enthusiasm, block its binding site, so it can’t bind to CD4 anymore.” I remembered the wise man’s words when I surveyed this article “Antibodies to the CD4-binding site of HIV-1 gp120 suppress gp120-specific CD4 T cell response while enhancing antibody response” about studying the effect of monoclonal anti-bodies against only the highly conserved part of the gp 120 (The binding site). We know that after exposure to HIV, the IS produces Ab against gp 120 to neutralize it, but the HIV tends to change the gp 120, so it can’t fit with the neutralizing Ab, moving on to more destruction. With those highly specific binders, I thought it’ll be the ultimate success.

Unfortunately, the research group made in vivo (in mice) & in vitro studies using the normal virus & another recombinant one with no CD4bs. They called it CD4bs+ Env & CD4bs- Env (Like with or without cheese). They found that the Anti-CD4bs mAb have high neutralizing activity, they raised the Ab titer (mainly IgG but not IgM). But they hinder the ability of the proteolytic enzymes/ the degrading mechanisms of phagocytes/ T-helper response to the envelope Ag/ the ability of Antigen presenting cells & MHC II to present the Ag. Let’s think about it…. They can only present the virus’s Ag, not the gp120/anti-CD4bs complexes. This is too long in writing, how about presenting? Just kidding, It’s about that the Ag is already covered, so it’s useless to be presented.

This is so awful, even the last approach to bind HIV didn’t work. What are the researchers gonna do? What’s the next move? We’ll find out soon.

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Anatomy of AIDS virus:

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