This Week's Herman Trend Alert

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  The Herman Trend Alert

July 21, 2010

HIV Breakthrough May End Most AIDS Infections

According to the National Institutes of Health, scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) have found two antibodies that can stop more than 90 percent of the known strains that cause the AIDS virus. (Antibodies are proteins produced by white blood cells to fight bacteria, viruses, and other foreign substances in an organism.)

There are two aspects of this breakthrough that are exciting advances. First, the discovery of these "exceptionally broadly neutralizing antibodies to HIV" and second, finding the structural analysis that explains how they work. These landmark discoveries will accelerate NIAID's efforts to develop a preventive for HIV. The final stage of the HIV infection is AIDS, or Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. These recently discovered naturally occurring antibodies, called VRC01 and VRC02, neutralize more HIV strains than any other known antibodies.

Though we have had antiviral medications for a while, we have never before had an understanding of the role these particular proteins play.

Scientists, including those from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston; Columbia University, New York; Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health, Boston; Rockefeller University, New York; and University of Washington, Seattle, all participated in this research study. Recently, the online edition of the research journal "Science" published details of the study.

Over the years several pharmaceutical companies, notably Merck & Co., Sanofi-Aventis, and GlaxoSmithKline PLC, have all tried to develop HIV-vaccines. To date, no vaccine has reached the commercialization stage. Typically, a variety of anti-viral medications are used to treat HIV.

This breakthrough in finding these powerful proteins that defeat the AIDS virus is just the beginning. As insights build on our growing bodies of knowledge about these diseases, we expect medical breakthroughs to increase exponentially. These discoveries are the next steps toward cures for more viruses and cancers. Big Pharma is poised to step in and then manufacture these resulting products.

As more studies expose the causes of disease, we will increasingly find links to previously undetected poisons in our environment---our air, our soil, and our water. Humanity will be forced to focus on clean-up. . . as a matter of survival.

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