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Stem cell transplants and HIV - the mystery deepens

Discussion in 'Other Health News and Research' started by natasa778, Mar 11, 2014.

  1. natasa778

    natasa778 Senior Member

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  2. anciendaze

    anciendaze Senior Member

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    Nobody here is mentioning the example of HTLV-1, which can be transmitted by nursing soon after birth yet not result in active disease for 20 years or more. If HIV were better adapted to humans this is how I would expect it to behave, to avoid killing hosts before it is passed on.
  3. natasa778

    natasa778 Senior Member

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    Are you saying that this could already be happening in humans, given these findings in these two cases?

    would this also be indicative?
  4. anciendaze

    anciendaze Senior Member

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    Yes, natasa,

    While conventional ideas about evolution have it moving very slowly, this is not always the case. Even with the traditional example of Darwin's finches in the Galapagos there were on-going studies of how populations changed at a time when a period of severe weather (I forget which kind) killed well over 90% of the finches on one island. This resulted in a measurable change in beaks in the recovered population, one of the things biologists have been following to learn how these populations differentiate into distinct species. While finch populations recovered in a few years, the effects on the species of one very bad year were much more than most theoreticians had been willing to believe.

    For microorganisms a change which very nearly wipes out all of them in a single individual host can have much more extreme effects. This is how resistant species of bacteria develop from incomplete treatment with antibiotics. The effects on a virus with the extraordinary variability of HIV were even greater.

    If unopposed the virus might still kill off 99% of present human populations, but even in the worst-hit parts of Africa there have been survivors where no one expected to find them. We still don't know how many will be in condition to have children of their own, but it seems clear human evolution would continue even if modern medicine was not able to combat the disease. This isn't very reassuring for those old-style humans like ourselves who might become infected.

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