HIV

If you haven't seen these, check out Jake Young's collection of videos showing T cells getting infected by HIV. The best one is at the bottom of the post.Read more
One of the holy grails of modern medicine is the development of a vaccine against HIV, the virus that causes AIDs. An obstacle to attaining this goal has been the difficulty in stimulating the immune system to make it produce the right kinds of antibodies. A recent finding in Science describes a gene that controls production of these antibodies and may provide insights to the development of an effective vaccine. (1). Antibodies are special kinds of proteins that bind to things, often very tightly. If they bind to the right molecules, they can prevent viruses from infecting ... Read more

But that hasn't always been true.

When I was in college, I had part-time jobs drawing blood from patients in the university hospital and as a phlebotomist at local plasma center. Plus, I was a volunteer EMT on an ambulance crew. Needless to say, I saw plenty of blood. And those were the days when no one wore gloves. We used to be tested every few months for hepatitis, since it was pretty common for the hospital lab techs to get that, so I did worry about hepatitis.

When I went to graduate school, and realized that the hospital where I had worked, had been ... Read more

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