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HIV and Evolution-A pathway to a cure.

  1. Dec 22, 2004 #1
    In my Biology II AP class we were watching this video on evolution and one thing came up in which a doctor, whose name I forget, linked HIV to evolution. Now I don't know how much of a stretch or news this is to anyone but I'll share it nonetheless. In a person's body that has HIV the virus spreads rapidly producing many wild type viruses through either lytic or lysogenic infections. When people who have the HIV virus and AIDS take medicine it is common to see them with literally ten or more pill bottles, usually containing almost all the most current HIV medicine available. The reason being so because as the medicine is introduced into the body the HIV virus rapidly adapts. This is where survival of the fittest and Darwin's theory of evolution comes into play. With the medicine consistent in the virus's environment the wild type dies off, or becomes less in number and new strains of the evolved type grow in numbers rapidly. Therefore the medicine has no effect on the newly adapted viruses. However the doctor I mentioned before found a way in which to effectively treat the HIV virus. By introducing the patient to a medicine and taking them off for a certain period of time the evolved type which adapted to the medicine will slowly die off once the patient is taken off the medicine and the wild type will grow again. And then right when the wild type begins to grow and become the more populous strand, the patient is reintroduced to the medicine. I don't know if its just me but thats amazing. :smile:
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 23, 2004 #2
    Its just you.
  4. Dec 23, 2004 #3
    That was a joke btw. Yes, it is amazing, but I am afraid that the virus is still winning the battle.

  5. Dec 23, 2004 #4
    Yes but in the same vein, all you need is one little HIV bugger who is both well adapted to the medicine (you can bet there are more than only 2 variations of HIV in any one body), and also well adapted to living in the medicine free evironment. Such a strain would rapidly become dominant, and then both your avenues of attack are completely useless.

    This is why evolution is so powerful. And why HIV, which has proven itself to be one of the most rapidly adapting viruses (and thus most rapidly evolving), has so far defeated any attempt at a cure.

    And yes, its just you :tongue:
  6. Dec 23, 2004 #5


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    The same is (or should be) done with antibiotics, when it is not effective anymore: take it off the market and wait 10 years, the bacteria might have lost their resistance in that time.

    Actually, farmers use this information too,: every year they rotate their crop over their fields: this way a parasite has less chance of infecting the crop it's adapted to.
  7. Dec 23, 2004 #6
    We gotta have humor in science. Which is why I think my chem teachers were so crazy. Without humor I think the whole aspect of studying something so complex would make us go insane. Thank you for your replies guys. :wink: :smile:
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