HIV/AIDS

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
AIDS, to me, is such a scary horrible disease that it seems that all of us would naturally support a cure and work together stop it from spreading. I even forced my family to watch a movie on AIDS over the holidays. (And the Band Played On, based on a book with same title by Randy Shilts, who died of AIDS in 1994). That's why I was astounded to read last night, at the Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) news site, that the Iranian government has put two doctors in prison - doctors who specialize in treating AIDS patients ... Read more
HealthMap is a great site that could be an excellent resource when teaching a biology, microbiology, or health class. Not to mention, I can picture people using it before they travel somewhere or even just for fun. I learned about HealthMap awhile ago from Mike the Mad Biologist, but I didn't get time to play with the site until today. Here's an example to see how it works. How do I use HealthMap? ... 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
Five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor (dubbed the Tripoli six) may be executed soon by the Libyan government for the crime of deliberately infecting over 400 children with HIV. If they did infect the children, this would be a horrendous crime. If they did not infect the children, it's the Libyan government that will be killing innocent people. The clock is ticking. Some of you might be wondering (I know I was): How exactly is molecular sequence data being used to solve the crime? Why are scientists and science bloggers claiming that the ... Read more
Random remembrance #1. December 1st is world AIDS day. On December 1st, I will mourn for my former colleagues, students and acquaintances who've died from AIDS. Random random reminder #2. Bloggers, Ron Hudson from the International Carnival of Pozivities will be putting together stories about AIDS and HIV. The next carnival isn't until Dec. 10th, but you can still submit. Random blog comment #3: After the last ... Read more
Did HIV become resistant to Atazanavir because of a genetic change? Was that genetic change inherited? Did HIV evolve? Can we explain why genetic changes at specific sites might help HIV escape the effects of the drug? Let's find out. All of the sequences in the image below (except for the first) come from HIV strains that were isolated from patients who took Atazanavir and no other protease inhibitors. All of the strains of HIV from patients were resistant to the drug. If an amino acid is different from other strains, the color at that position is changed. ... Read more
In which we see the results and come to our own conclusions. If you want to let other people tell you what's right and what's wrong, they will surely do so. Turn on the TV and hordes of happy actors bounce around, only too happy to help you purchase the right deodorant. Open your e-mail and everyone wants to share the best on-line pharmacy and investment guide. Ugh. I prefer making my own decisions, thank you very much. So, I want to give you a chance to look at the data and decide for yourself, if the data show HIV protease sequences changing over ... Read more
Let the experiment begin. We're experimenting with HIV in this series. And yes, you can try this at home! If you want to see where we've been and get an idea where we're going, here are the links. Part I. Meet HIV and learn how we're going to use it look at evolution. An introduction to the experiment and a link to a short flash movie on HIV. Part II. Instructions for doing the experiment. Part III. Look at the ... Read more
When can a really bad virus be used to do something good? i-a6550bc9f8fd2b4ba98054d13cd679e5-hiv_photo.jpg When we can use it to learn. The human immunodeficiency virus, cause of AIDS, scourge of countries, and recent focus of ScienceBlogs; like humans, evolves. As one ... Read more

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