J Walking

J Walking

HIV origins

I missed this yesterday and perhaps everyone has already seen it, but this made my jaw drop for several reasons. First, that scientists were able to put the pieces together to make this conclusion. That is just staggering to me. Second, so much horror came from that single source is more than I can comprehend. I’ve known, as we all have, about a ‘patient zero’ but somehow this news makes it that much more… horrifying.

The AIDS virus invaded the United States in about 1969 from Haiti, carried most likely by a single infected immigrant who set the stage for it to sweep the world in a tragic epidemic, scientists said on Monday.
Michael Worobey, a University of Arizona evolutionary biologist, said the 1969 U.S. entry date is earlier than some experts had believed.
The timeline laid out in the study led by Worobey indicates that HIV infections were occurring in the United States for roughly 12 years before AIDS was first recognized by scientists as a disease in 1981. Many people had died by that point.
“It is somehow chilling to know it was probably circulating for so long under our noses,” Worobey said in a telephone interview.
The researchers conducted a genetic analysis of stored blood samples from early AIDS patients to determine when the human immunodeficiency virus first entered the United States.
They found that HIV was brought to Haiti by an infected person from central Africa in about 1966, which matches earlier estimates, and then came to the United States in about 1969.
The researchers think an unknown single infected Haitian immigrant arrived in a large city like Miami or New York, and the virus circulated for years — first in the U.S. population and then to other nations.

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Larry Parker

posted October 30, 2007 at 10:06 pm

Since you didn’t provide a link, what do the scientists think happened to the men (presumably men, though who knows) infected with HIV from 1969 to 1981?
I’m guessing fairly safely they died (sigh). But disease (or series of diseases) was what we know now to be AIDS mistaken for?

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Larry Parker

posted October 31, 2007 at 12:47 pm

“But WHAT disease (or series of diseases) …” in the previous post.

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H. (Bart) Vincelette

posted November 17, 2007 at 2:47 am

Re what the causes of death passed for before AIDS was defined ……it may not have had to pass for anything in particular.Aids is actually a syndrome os sorts . No one dies from AIDS itself ; it is simply a condition in which the immune system is severely weakened by a dramatic decrease in key lymphocytes called CD-4 & CD-8 cells. They are killed off as a result of HIV entering the cell & nucleus , to hijack their DNA so that HIV can replicate.( Viruses do not have a full complement of DNA & must hijack the DNA from a ‘host’ cell, so depending on what type of cell a particular virus requires ( through millenia of evolution)to replicate ; one might get a sore throat & cough ( a cold), or may die within a week , as in the case of the Ebola virus which invades the cells lining the walls of the cirulatory system.With HIV , the diminshed defences of the immune system , permit opportunistic infections and cancers to overwhelm the body.It is also significant to note that HIV is actually lousy at replicating itself, & churns out a lot of dud copies.It has learned to compensate for this , though , by replicating itself millions of times in a 24 hour period , thereby tiring the immune system over time . If ther is a monster in the animal kingdom, it is the VIRUS ( although preons are mighty scary also…..’mad cow disease’)

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