reply to post by D_Mason
You are simply wrong. You are clearly reciting things you heard elsewhere but you have no personal knowledge of any of these things/techniques. And
since I know your type, I know nothing I can say will convince you otherwise. If, however, you are really interested in learning about HIV/AIDS, I
invite to come work in my lab. I will happily teach you how we grow the virus, infect cells, spread the infection from one cell to another, infect
mice reconstituted with human immune systems, detect the virus (DNA, RNA, proteins) in very, very specific ways - indeed using the techniques you so
handily dismiss as non-specific. And, if at the end of let's say 3 months, you still don't believe, I will happily allow you to inject yourself
with one of the many strains we have (lab designed strains, clinical isolates, dual tropic strains, HAART resistant strains).
Okay, that would be unethical. And even if you were merely a volunteer, I'm pretty sure EH&S wouldn't allow me to allow you to do that. But, it
would give you a chance to test the hypothesis...Believe me, once you think you might be infected, you'll tend to believe the accuracy and
specificity of all of our tests and assays.
Indeed, a lot of diseases (genetic, viral, environmental) lead to immune deficiencies - and we have names for all of them! AIDS was so named because
when the symptoms were being defined, we did not yet have a defined bug. And when the bug was finally defined, we wanted to name it based on the
symptoms it caused. There are over a dozen viruses that cause the common cold, yet people don't seem up in arms that we simply call the illness
"the cold" and do not reference the specific virus. Or a dozen types of bacteria and viruses that cause pneumonia, but people don't say, "Hey,
you already have one that causes pneumonia! How can there be TWO (or more) bugs that cause the SAME symptoms?!"
Many children acquire HIV through blood transfusions, mother's breast milk, or through the placenta. These infants have not been exposed to drugs or
other immune deficient-causing agents.
More importantly, we can culture the virus out of the cells of these patients and infect new, previously uninfected cells. And with the advent of the
humanized mouse models, we can completely fulfill Koch's postulate and induce HIV-disease (AIDS) in mice.
I can take it even further! I can create a humanized mouse with a mixture of cells that either contain my anti-HIV gene or not. After the mice are
infected with HIV, if you join my lab, you can assay them and see for yourself that the human cells containing our anti-HIV genes fail to die while
the control cells not engineered with the anti-HIV genes in the same animal, eventually completely disappear. How about an HIV strain known to infect
only CCR5/CD4 expressing cells? In time, they will be the cells to disappear. Conversely, CXCR4/CD4-infecting strains of HIV will lead to the
disappearance of only CXCR4/CD4 and not the CCR5/CD4 expressing cells. Pretty specific.
And if you don't trust the western blot, ELISA or PCR kits out there, don't worry - we don't use them! We design our own. Honestly, the clinical
kits are too expensive. I'll teach how to design an experiment with proper positive and negative controls.
But, if you are wondering why the COBAS® AMPLICOR HIV-1 MONITOR Test, v1.5 says "The COBAS® AMPLICOR HIV-1 MONITOR Test, v1.5 is not intended to be
used as a screening test for blood or blood products for the presence of HIV-1 or as a diagnostic test to confirm the presence of HIV-1 infection."
I'm happy to explain. See, this test is intended to assay viral loads ("Gold standard automated solution for HIV-1 viral load testing"), which by
definition is a test for HIV RNA. But blood and blood products have A TON of RNAses, enzymes that naturally chew up RNA. And Roche is too cheap to
prove to every regulatory agency world-wide that their test cleans up all the RNAses such that a negative is true negative (because a negative could
simply be that the naturally occurring RNAses in the blood chewed up the free HIV RNA before we had a chance to get to the assay step). Roche
doesn't want THAT lawsuit! So they'd rather let some other chump biotech/pharma company spend the money proving their negative is a true negative
with respect to blood. They don't want to be responsible for diagnostic testing. But once someone is confirmed positive and being negative is no
longer an issue, their happy to say their test provides "High levels of sensitivity for accurate measurement of viral suppression in patients on
anti-retroviral therapy." It's all about the lawsuits. There is NO one manufacturer that is willing to take on the legal burden - they all want
"confirmatory" test. Again, it's all about the lawsuits.