Figures announced recently at an international AIDS conference in Barcelona reveal the giant scale of the epidemic. Tens of millions of people catch the disease and die of AIDS every year. It is not clear yet how to prevent the expansion of the epidemic.
It is frequently reported that doctors create new medicines effective in the struggle against HIV. The other day, VaxGen representatives informed that a new AIDS vaccine will be created within the ne3xt five years (not ten years, as was supposed earlier). Right before the Barcelona conference, Indian doctors also declared they were ready to create an AIDS vaccine with sufficient financing for investigations (sponsors in the USA at once stated they were ready to finance the investigation). But will the new medicines be effective? As was stated by American doctors last year, AIDS stops reacting to medicines, which means the virus is gradually mutating and causes more difficulties for investigations.
The other day, a British geneticist discovered a gene that provides natural protection from HIV, that in its turn causes AIDS. Doctors say that the essence of the invention is that all people have a natural protection from HIV. It is a gene blocking penetration of the virus in the human organism. The gene, called SEM-15, produces a substance blocking virus spreading from one cell to the other.
However, HIV manages to defeat the natural barrier: it produces substances of its own to neutralize protein in the human organism and, thus, suppresses the natural human immune system. Scientists are working now on means to support genetic resistive capacity of the human organism. Investigations held at the London Imperial College and Pennsylvania School of Medicine (USA) confirm the possibility of this method. Though, it is stressed that the development of a new anti-HIV method may take several years. Therefore, there is little hope that new effective medicines against AIDS will be invented in the nearest time. And what is more, it is not ruled out that new medicines will be very expensive. It is no secret that the majority of HIV-infected people live in poor African countries; even if some really effective medicines are invented, these people will not be able to buy them. So, it is very likely that the number of people suffering from AIDS (which makes up 40 million as of now) will be still increasing in the nearest future. Vasily Bubnov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://pravda.ru/main/2002/07/15/44192.html