The Challenges of Curing Aids
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The Challenges of Curing Aids

Aids has been around for decades. Still, it can't be cured. Why not? Read more here...

According to the most widely accepted theory, the aids virus transferred form a primate population in Africa to human beings. This happened, after the virus underwent several mutations, through a scratch or a bite, making it a zoonosis, a disease that can be transferred from animals to human beings. The disease was first discovered in 1981 and has, since then, affected millions of individuals. Now, the virus is ubiquitous, meaning that it can be found all over the world, and has even wiped out entire villages in certain African countries.

The Ever-Changing Virus

The HIV virus is extremely adept at mutating, sometimes more than a hundred of strains (new mutants) originate from a single parental strain. This, of course, makes vaccination an extremely difficult challenge, since the vaccine should also protect people against all mutated forms of the virus. By the time one vaccine is developed, the virus has mutated into different strains who are unaffected by the working of the vaccine, and each strain requires a new vaccine . It’s like fighting an uphill battle.

A Special Marker

The cells that are used as host by the HIV virus, have a special chemical marker, called CD4. This CD4 recognizes certain specific antigens (the substances against which the immune system reacts). The cells who posses this chemical marker, CD4, aid the immune system by indicating which enemy they are fighting. Some brain cells and a number of cells of the immune system, among which the T-cells, who are all a part of the first line of defense on the body against the outside world, contain CD4. This marker is known to aid the body and the immune system in the defense against poison, tumor cells and a whole heap of contagious micro-organisms. When the cells who posses that CD4 are destroyed by the HIV virus, the entire immune system is compromised and as a consequence of this, the host will become much more susceptible to all kinds of infections and cancers.

Hope for the Future

Nowadays, several forms of medication are used, sometimes in a combination, to try and counter the effects of the nasty virus. Today, after several decades of experience with the HIV virus, medical science seems to be able to allow the patients to live a relatively normal and fulfilling live. Through the advances in genetic science, some promising possibilities are being researched, that seem to be able to provide treatments that might be capable of defeating viruses like HIV by hitting them where it hurts, in their genes.

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