Hepatitis G virus may inhibit HIV from becoming AIDS (NY Times link).
September 5, 2001 5:52 PM   Subscribe

Hepatitis G virus may inhibit HIV from becoming AIDS (NY Times link). The Hepatitis G virus doesn't seem to cause any disease, but is now being pointed at as a factor that slows the progress of HIV. It's the second time this year I've heard of a virus being used to defeat a virus. There's a connection there, but I'll leave it at that.
posted by eyeballkid (17 comments total)
thats what they say every year. "Look! We found something that slows the progess of HIV. So will you give us some money, now?". Lets face the facts: It will take a long time till we find something that really works. people suck
posted by MrJesus at 6:01 PM on September 5, 2001

i've seen this sort of news only once, mrjesus, and from this article. how you can think that finding a new way to slow down the HIV virus is a bad thing is, i must admit, beyond me.
posted by moz at 6:11 PM on September 5, 2001

Because they write things like that every half-year. and then its either a) too expensive. b) not working.
posted by MrJesus at 6:17 PM on September 5, 2001

posted by Hackworth at 6:21 PM on September 5, 2001

i fail to appreciate your logic, i suppose. i think any positive research in the fight against AIDS is a good thing, but i guess i shouldn't expect everyone to see eye to eye with me on that.
posted by moz at 6:21 PM on September 5, 2001

Mr Jesus: it may be that because people suck there is ithis sort of problem.
posted by Postroad at 6:29 PM on September 5, 2001

Sometimes these things pan out, sometimes they don't. When they do, it takes a while for these things to pan out. It took Salk five years of research to develop a polio vaccine that was ready for clinical trials, and another three before it was approved for general use. So it might be years before you hear about the impact of this newest report.
posted by shylock at 6:38 PM on September 5, 2001

Actually, "sucking" is an extremely rare way of transmitting HIV. Unprotected vaginal and anal intercourse with an infected partner, as well as needle sharing among IV drug users, are the real problems. It is definitely NOT a disease of homosexuals only, nor has it ever been.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 6:46 PM on September 5, 2001

I was listening to NPR's All Things Considered on the way home from work today when I heard about this. The things that it got me thinking about were a) the yahoo link in the post that deals in using good viruses to combat bad viruses for PCs and b) isn't making a cure out of another virus a bit of a Faustian proposition?

What I found interesting about the NPR report is that one of the researchers called Hepititis G "a virus in search of a disease." It sounded to me like evolution calling.

MrJ, I know that they announce a cure for HIV/AIDs every 6 mos., (which is why I almost didn't post this to MeFi). Still, this sounded to me like a fairly unique way to fight a virus. It was that concept that attracted me to the story.
posted by eyeballkid at 7:18 PM on September 5, 2001

like a fairly unique way to fight a virus

Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't the cure for smallpox a similar disease in that effected bovines in a similar fashion?

I'm not suggesting that the "Cat version of Aids" will cure HIV/Aids, but wouldn't that be one of the first places to start? For infomation on how the virus can/will/might work.
posted by X-00 at 9:42 PM on September 5, 2001

Uh, X-00, AIDS was pretty much discovered in the process of comparing similar retroviruses, a category that developed, by the way, in the process of searching for a cure for cancer. The researchers in the field don't need the peanut gallery to tell them to look for connections.

The cure for smallpox is eradication, alas. The vaccination for smallpox was developed from cowpox. This is not at all the same thing as using one virus to combat another. It may well be that the Hepatitus G virus could be used to develop a vaccine that will be effective against HIV, but I wouldn't bet money on it just yet.
posted by dhartung at 11:03 PM on September 5, 2001

My pet wacky theory: there are many beneficial contagions out there -- bacteria, viruses, prions -- that we just don't know about because we haven't been looking.

The benefits of such contagions include benignly occupying a niche that could otherwise be occupied by more destructive agents, or by otherwise interfering with the activities of harmful diseases. So, they confer "immunity" -- but not through stimulating the native immune system.

After several of these contagions are discovered, it may become fashionable to receive donated blood from people with proven longevity -- as a way to populate ones' own body with the agents that have presumably assisted others in holding off diseases and cancers.

Watch for it.
posted by gojomo at 12:00 AM on September 6, 2001

Impure blood infusions: the New Laetrile.
posted by aramaic at 8:04 AM on September 6, 2001

OOOh! Laetrile! You said the magic word. I'm going to get my apricot pits from the grocery store after work...

On a more serious note, isn't it interesting that even though we have all of this medicine and all these things to combat illness, mankind has never actually developed a cure for anything?
posted by fusinski at 12:23 PM on September 6, 2001

why bother with cures now that treatments are so profitable?
posted by tolkhan at 1:21 PM on September 6, 2001

Ah, the voice of corporate America...
posted by fusinski at 2:29 PM on September 6, 2001

Actually, we did cure smallpox, as stated above. It doesn't fit our mental image of what a "cure" should be, but that doesn't make it any less of a cure.
posted by Ptrin at 2:33 PM on September 6, 2001

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