London’s great HIV/AIDS hope

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by iJohnHenry, Dec 27, 2011.

  1. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    In the early '80s, it was a mysterious, incurable, deadly epidemic, That was then...and now...UWO researchers, including Elizabeth Banasikowska and Chil-Yong Kang, hope to have a serum ready in about five years to combat the illness.

    Researchers at the University of Western Ontario are hoping a fourth time's the charm to develop an effective vaccine to combat HIV/AIDS.

    Tuesday, in a breakthrough announcement, they said they've received approval to try an entirely new formula on humans.

    By following a line of research that successfully produced vaccines for polio, rabies and hepatitis A, they hope to have a serum available to fight HIV/AIDS in about five years, if all goes well.

    The world's three other attempts to develop vaccines since 2003 all failed.

    London research has been funded by Sumagen Canada Inc., a subsidiary of Korean pharmaceutical giant Sumagen Co. Ltd.

    HIV/AIDS has claimed 28 million lives worldwide since it was identified nearly 30 years ago. More than another 35 million people are living with the virus that attacks the immune system.

    While HIV/AIDS is being controlled in North America, it is ravaging Africa.

    Starting next month, 40 HIV-positive volunteers will begin clinical trials, just approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration. Those trials will be followed by tests on 6,600 HIV-negative, but high-risk volunteers, testing immune responses and effectiveness of the vaccine in two more phases.

    "I feel happy and comfortable to initiate this human-clinical trial," said chief researcher Chil-Yong Kang, a professor of microbiology and immunology at the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry at UWO.

    It'll be five years before the vaccine could be made available to the general public, provided all testing goes well, he said.

    Kang said approval by the FDA is key because the agency has strict standards generally regarded as a world standard.

    Unlike other research aimed at developing a vaccine, the Western team uses viruses it kills and genetically modifies to make them safe. Part of that process involves using white blood cells and the melittin protein from honeybees to help cultivate the vaccine.

    Other attempts have used live viruses, because that route was successful in developing vaccines to combat mumps, measles and smallpox.

    Kang said researchers in London had to conduct 230 different tests to satisfy the FDA, some involving primates, to ensure the vaccine would be safe to use on humans.

    "To have this approval is a very important stage," Kang said.

    The vaccine is being produced at special "bio-safety Level 3" laboratories in Maryland and Colorado because no lab in Canada is properly qualified, he said.

    Sumagen Canada has secured patents to the vaccine in more than 70 countries through WORLDdiscoveries, Western's technology-transfer office.

    Western president Amit Chakma said the latest move marks "a major development in our fight against HIV/AIDS."

    He noted the announcement comes on the heels of a $1 million donation from a Western professor to give new hope to Africans living with HIV/AIDS. The gift from Marianne Larsen, from an inheritance, will provide disease-fighting probiotic yogurt, developed in London, to as many as 1,100 people in Tanzania and East Africa each day for the next 10 years.

    The inability to find a vaccine since HIV/AIDS was first observed "has not been because of a lack of effort," Chakma said. "It is because it is a complex challenge."

    Linky.
     
  2. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    It will be intersting to see when, if ever, an effective vaccine for HIV/AIDS is developed. It would obviously be a very big deal, up there with malaria, polio and other landmark medical advances.

    One can but hope.
     
  3. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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  4. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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  5. Grey Beard macrumors 65816

    Grey Beard

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    #5
    It takes so very little. You lot over there, forget the advances that are being made in the Colonies.

    KGB:D
     
  6. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    Oh, I'm a colonist as well. I grew up just under 300 miles from London (the little, Canadian version).
     
  7. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #7
    Colonial naming patterns aside, this is great news! I have to admit though that so many hopeful announcements have been made in the past that it's hard to jump up and down until it's been proven it works.

    We can always hope though.
     
  8. lewis82 macrumors 68000

    lewis82

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    What I hope is that they don't try to make money off it. I consider it a crime against humanity to patent and sell for exorbitant prices drugs that can save millions of lives.

    One can dream ;)
     
  9. iJohnHenry thread starter macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    That also concerned me, what with the trials taking place in the Republic of Money.

    We shall find out in time what the structure of this agreement is.

    One can dream. :rolleyes:
     
  10. ericrwalker macrumors 68030

    ericrwalker

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    #10

    Really? All that hard work and they shouldn't be compensated for their hard work? Maybe all doctors should work for free and never make money for saving lives. Maybe you should come up with a cure for something and not be paid for it.

    I think they should become rich for such a cure.


    If they couldn't profit off of it, then they would most likely be in another line of work.:rolleyes:
     
  11. lewis82 macrumors 68000

    lewis82

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    Not everyone dreams to be rich. I don't. Money is not a goal for me, but a means.

    If I found a cure for AIDS, I'd sell it priced high enough so that all employees and me get a decent (competitive with the rest of the industry) salary, and to keep the production lines up and running without trouble. No profits would be made by the company. I'd license it to other companies with the condition that they do the same.

    Isn't it disgusting to make money while knowing that there are millions of people in africa dying because they can't afford your cure, just because you wanted to make more money?
     
  12. iJohnHenry thread starter macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #12
    Outstanding thinking displayed there. Kudos.
     
  13. ericrwalker macrumors 68030

    ericrwalker

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    #13
    Most people want a decent life for themselves and for their families. Spending years researching and developing a vaccine for one of the worst viruses we ever seen should make the developers very well off. Selfish to think they should be doing it out of the kindness of their hearts while you pursue a career that's making you money.
     
  14. lewis82 macrumors 68000

    lewis82

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    Researchers in universities are paid in the six figures. They're not exactly dying of starvation. Plus, if they went ahead and got their Ph.D, it means they love what they're doing. There are much easier ways to make money if that's what they really wanted.
     
  15. ericrwalker macrumors 68030

    ericrwalker

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    #15
    ...and your statement about not wanting them to profit from this, it's a crime against humanity?
     
  16. iJohnHenry thread starter macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    Thank you.

    Perhaps our friend does not know that 'tenure' = 'security'.
     
  17. lewis82 macrumors 68000

    lewis82

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    I don't exactly get what you mean, so I'll answer what I think I understood.

    I don't care about people making money from cars, or computers, or whatever.

    But I do care about making money from the illnesses of the people. It's just perverted to me. Universal health care is great, as everyone has access to what they need and no one directly profits of it.

    So what I meant was: if they want to get rich, just become pharmacist, or lawyer, or some other kind of easy yet well paid job (provided you have enough talent). Or start a business. It's okay. Now if they decide, "I'll find a cure for AIDS, then ask people who are bound to die to sell a kidney in order to be able to afford one year of medication", then I think it's not ethically acceptable.
     
  18. ericrwalker macrumors 68030

    ericrwalker

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    #18
    Well I for one don't see a problem with making money off of someones health. At the same time, I see it as a great thing when someone treats the poor for free.

    As for universal health care (forcing people through taxes to pay for others, I'd opt out) Not exactly freedom.

    I am far from heartless, but if you are American and you want universal health care move to Massachusetts. It's not the right of the federal government to force it on the states. That's the point of the 10th amendment.



     
  19. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #19
    Is that freedom worth 8% of GDP plus a bunch of pain and misery for those without healthcare?
     
  20. ericrwalker macrumors 68030

    ericrwalker

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    #20

    There are plenty of options out there for those who don't have healthcare. Not to mention, a big reason the cost of healthcare has gone up so much is because of the governments involvement, but then we're going off topic.
     
  21. lewis82 macrumors 68000

    lewis82

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    Would you be able to afford a cancer treatment (200 000$ and more) right now? What if you were a child, you have cancer but your parents aren't wealthy enough to pay for your treatment and have to let you die? Wouldn't you find it unfair?

    EDIT: I'm Quebecer, so universal healthcare is a normal thing for me. I can't imagine living in a place where I have to pay a thousand bucks to get a radiography when I break my arm.
     
  22. ericrwalker macrumors 68030

    ericrwalker

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    #22
    One more thing I would like to point out about HIV/AIDS.

    I don't know the percentages of how people are still getting HIV in 2011, but I would be willing to bet most 90% or more get it from their own irresponsibility.
    -Sharing needles
    -unprotected sex
    -Home tattooing

    Universal healthcare would force me and other responsible citizens to pay for the treatment of the irresponsible. I refuse to be responsible for people listed above.

    Some may get it from childbirth, breast milk, blood transfusions and I know some police and medical personnel have gotten it from accidental needle sticks. These are the ones I feel for and feel they could tax me for.

    ----------

    The poor have healthcare already in the USA. Medicaid is overused here in NY.

    Can I afford $200,000 right now? NO, but hopefully I could get some charity, pay the bill over time. Friends and family I am sure would help. It's not anybody's problem if I get cancer, but I welcome help from the willing...not the forced.


     
  23. lewis82 macrumors 68000

    lewis82

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    #23
    What you say is true for developped countries. However it isn't true in poor countries, for example African countries, where there is the greatest concentration of seropositive persons.

    In some African countries, it is tought that having sex with a virgin (often a child) can cure you from AIDS. The lack of education of these populations makes it impossible to control efficiently the pandemy. As for unprotected sex, the Catholic church is against the condom, so missionaries in Africa (which have done some great things, I have an aunt who went to Congo and helped the community a lot) won't give them nor teach kids/teens about safe sex.

    "Sub-Saharan Africa remains by far the worst affected region. In 2007 it contained an estimated 68% of all people living with AIDS and 76% of all AIDS deaths, with 1.7 million new infections bringing the number of people living with HIV to 22.5 million, and with 11.4 million AIDS orphans living in the region." (source)
     
  24. ericrwalker macrumors 68030

    ericrwalker

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    #24
    So this issue is Africa? I know they have a huge AIDS problem over there. That's just a symptom of the problem. They need to start with some stability in the government over there. Many countries over there are going to be in a civil war forever and are going to be in poverty forever. They need to start with a stable government and then an education.

    Some parts of Africa are doing quite well, while others have foreign helpers from all over the world trying to stop AIDS and educate their people. Hand out free condoms and treat the sick.

     
  25. Mac'nCheese macrumors 68030

    Mac'nCheese

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    #25
    If we can't get people in Africa to practice safe sex, what makes us think we can get enough people vaccinated to make a difference?
     

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