After Years Of Research We May Finally Be Close
20 years ago on March the 4th, my uncle Steven Munzenrider succumbed to his battle with AIDS. It was about 2 years from the time he was diagnosed to the time he passed away. I was 16 years old at the time, and about a week before he passed, I traveled from my home in Phoenix, Arizona to visit my uncle Steve in New Mexico. Steve was the co-founder and a teacher at the Little Earth School in Santa Fe, and performed magic on the side. He was an inspiration to many people and dedicated his life to helping kids. He was in really bad shape when I got there. I didn’t know how close he was to dying, and really enjoyed the time I got to spend with him. After I got home from my visit about 5 days later we received word of his death. It hit the family hard. Such horrible things happen to some of the best people. Below is his panel in the AIDS Memorial Quilt.
Not much was known in 1994 about HIV or AIDS. There were a few different drugs available on the market which my uncle took, but they were not very effective and didn’t do much for him. He smoked marijuana to help with the nausea caused by the medicine and to help relax him. He really didn’t have a chance though. By the time he died he was a shell of his former self, his body having wasted away to nearly nothing. The once healthy 165 pound man couldn’t have been more than a mere 90 pounds at his death. It was a horrible thing to watch and such a shitty way for him or anyone for that matter to go. However, here as I sit almost 20 years to the very day that he passed away, I’m excited to say that with two new huge recent announcements we are standing on the doorstep and closer then ever before to finding a cure or vaccine to HIV & AIDS.
Amazing Advancements In The Last Few Years
After years of research costing billions of dollars science has two very special announcements in regards to the fight against AIDS. The first is especially exciting and was announced two days ago as reported by CBS news. A second baby born with AIDS has been completely cured of the disease. Yes, you read that correctly. A baby born with AIDS was cured. According to the report, the mother was given some anti-AIDS drugs during labor to try and help prevent transmission of the virus, and then the baby was started on the drugs within a few hours of being born. Tests later confirmed the baby had been infected, but does not appear to be now, nearly a year later. The baby is continuing treatment and looking very healthy. That’s pretty amazing news. The baby actually contracted the virus, but a year later showed no signs of it. There is another key word in that announcement, and that word is the word “second”. This has been done two different times now, to two different children. Science has repeated the results.
What this shows researchers is that with immediate treatment with an anti-HIV cocktail upon exposure to the virus can kill the virus. This could be a major clue to better prevention and a wider cure. With a little imagination and some nanotechnology, this could be the end of HIV and AIDS as we know it. Imaging a pill you take that is filled with microscopic nanobots equipped with this anti-HIV juice that are programmed to “swim around” the body and release it within milliseconds upon sensing the body has been infected. That’s not as far fetched or as far off as you might think with all the rapid recent advancements in nanotechnology and could only be a few short years away.
Announcement Number Deuce
The other announcement was reported by PBS on March 4th, the same day as my uncle’s death 20 years earlier. Scientists at the University of Miami have developed a vaccine that has shown to prevent laboratory mice from becoming infected with the AIDS virus. They recently published their findings in the Journal of Virology. It’s a slightly different take on a formal vaccine that involved reseachers attaching a copy of the HIV virus to an immune cell using a protein. This enables the T-Cells to “see” the virus before it had a chance to attack giving them a chance to produce killer T cells (the body’s virus assassins) which then wiped out the virus. The scientists found that the mice resisted the infection time after time, and even withstood being exposed to 10 million of the viruses in one dose.
So there ya have it. A mouse that received this vaccine these guys are working on survived a dose of 10 million AIDS viruses. That’s no joke right there. That’s a whole lot of AIDS. Sure it’s in mice and not humans but you have to start somewhere. On a separate but related thought, I wonder how human trials of something like that works? Being a human test subject sure would be an unnerving experience.
Looking 20 Years Into The Future
With these two recent and amazing advancements in the fight against AIDS, I am pretty confident that 20 years from today we will live in a world that talks about HIV and AIDS in the past tense. We may even be only 10 years away. Science and technology are moving at an incredible rate these days. Every new day brings a new discovery, and it’s an exciting time to be alive. We’ve already lost a lot of good people to this horrible disease with my uncle being one of them, and civilization will be much better off with it eradicated. And don’t forget that it was science that got us here, not any sort of prayer or religion. Just felt I had to throw that in there…
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