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What If We Eradicated All Infectious Disease?


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#16    AmbientSoul

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Posted 10 June 2012 - 08:08 PM

New drug could cure nearly any viral infection

Researchers at MIT’s Lincoln Lab have developed technology that may someday cure the common cold, influenza and other ailments.



Most bacterial infections can be treated with antibiotics such as penicillin, discovered decades ago. However, such drugs are useless against viral infections, including influenza, the common cold, and deadly hemorrhagic fevers such as Ebola.

Now, in a development that could transform how viral infections are treated, a team of researchers at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory has designed a drug that can identify cells that have been infected by any type of virus, then kill those cells to terminate the infection.


Posted Image
The microscope images above show that DRACO successfully treats viral infections. In the left set of four photos, rhinovirus (the common cold virus) kills untreated human cells (lower left), whereas DRACO has no toxicity in uninfected cells (upper right) and cures an infected cell population (lower right). Similarly, in the right set of four photos, dengue hemorrhagic fever virus kills untreated monkey cells (lower left), whereas DRACO has no toxicity in uninfected cells (upper right) and cures an infected cell population (lower right). | Enlarge image
In a paper published July 27 in the journal PLoS One, the researchers tested their drug against 15 viruses, and found it was effective against all of them — including rhinoviruses that cause the common cold, H1N1 influenza, a stomach virus, a polio virus, dengue fever and several other types of hemorrhagic fever.

The drug works by targeting a type of RNA produced only in cells that have been infected by viruses. “In theory, it should work against all viruses,” says Todd Rider, a senior staff scientist in Lincoln Laboratory’s Chemical, Biological, and Nanoscale Technologies Group who invented the new technology.

Because the technology is so broad-spectrum, it could potentially also be used to combat outbreaks of new viruses, such as the 2003 SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) outbreak, Rider says.

Other members of the research team are Lincoln Lab staff members Scott Wick, Christina Zook, Tara Boettcher, Jennifer Pancoast and Benjamin Zusman.

Few antivirals available

Rider had the idea to try developing a broad-spectrum antiviral therapy about 11 years ago, after inventing CANARY (Cellular Analysis and Notification of Antigen Risks and Yields), a biosensor that can rapidly identify pathogens. “If you detect a pathogenic bacterium in the environment, there is probably an antibiotic that could be used to treat someone exposed to that, but I realized there are very few treatments out there for viruses,” he says.

There are a handful of drugs that combat specific viruses, such as the protease inhibitors used to control HIV infection, but these are relatively few in number and susceptible to viral resistance.  

Rider drew inspiration for his therapeutic agents, dubbed DRACOs (Double-stranded RNA Activated Caspase Oligomerizers), from living cells’ own defense systems.

When viruses infect a cell, they take over its cellular machinery for their own purpose — that is, creating more copies of the virus. During this process, the viruses create long strings of double-stranded RNA (dsRNA), which is not found in human or other animal cells.

As part of their natural defenses against viral infection, human cells have proteins that latch onto dsRNA, setting off a cascade of reactions that prevents the virus from replicating itself. However, many viruses can outsmart that system by blocking one of the steps further down the cascade.

Rider had the idea to combine a dsRNA-binding protein with another protein that induces cells to undergo apoptosis (programmed cell suicide) — launched, for example, when a cell determines it is en route to becoming cancerous. Therefore, when one end of the DRACO binds to dsRNA, it signals the other end of the DRACO to initiate cell suicide.

Combining those two elements is a “great idea” and a very novel approach, says Karla Kirkegaard, professor of microbiology and immunology at Stanford University. “Viruses are pretty good at developing resistance to things we try against them, but in this case, it’s hard to think of a simple pathway to drug resistance,” she says.

Each DRACO also includes a “delivery tag,” taken from naturally occurring proteins, that allows it to cross cell membranes and enter any human or animal cell. However, if no dsRNA is present, DRACO leaves the cell unharmed.

Most of the tests reported in this study were done in human and animal cells cultured in the lab, but the researchers also tested DRACO in mice infected with the H1N1 influenza virus. When mice were treated with DRACO, they were completely cured of the infection. The tests also showed that DRACO itself is not toxic to mice.

The researchers are now testing DRACO against more viruses in mice and beginning to get promising results. Rider says he hopes to license the technology for trials in larger animals and for eventual human clinical trials.

This work is funded by a grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the New England Regional Center of Excellence for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases, with previous funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Defense Threat Reduction Agency, and Director of Defense Research & Engineering (now the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering).




http://web.mit.edu/n...viral-0810.html


huh?

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#17    WhyDontYouBeliEveMe

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Posted 10 June 2012 - 08:11 PM

if i would invent some kind of cure that could heal everything.... i wouldnt tell the world.
i would only sell it to the powerfull and rich ppl ...  
if i were to make it worldwide news. that i can cure everything.. i can quarantee you ... that i would be dead within a few hours...after i told the world.. no wait .. i would be dead before i can tell the world about it !


#18    spud the mackem

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Posted 10 June 2012 - 09:51 PM

View Postxombiefox, on 10 June 2012 - 06:32 PM, said:

It would be bad. we are already a cancer to this earth, destroying it. We also have to much people on this earth. so we need population reduction.
   Ok ,you jump first ..

(1) try your best, ............if that dont work.
(2) try your second best, ........if that dont work
(3) give up you aint gonna win

#19    Uncle Sam

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Posted 10 June 2012 - 10:22 PM

Eradicating the viruses that keep us in check with population, it would accelerate our growth as a species, making it much more vital for us to become a space faring species. It would have a potential of actually folding back on us and making is become extinct due to the fact we used up all our resources, over-fishing, over-hunting, and over-farming our planet to the point nothing is left which would leave us in an sorry state. We would probably have to make some very unethical and unmoral choices just to survive as a species, such as eliminating the old and limiting the birth of newborns for the rest of our lives.

Even though I look towards the most humane and moral choices in life, I would agree it would probably be best to keep an cure secret till we become a space faring species, if we become a space faring species. Only time we should use it if we on the verge of being extinct or our populations are being wiped out by a super virus. It might seem cold heart to deny a cure to people, but you got to realize we would run the risk of killing our planet and pretty much making our species extinct.

Edited by Uncle Sam, 10 June 2012 - 10:23 PM.

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#20    Socio

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 01:02 AM

View PostUncle Sam, on 10 June 2012 - 10:22 PM, said:

Eradicating the viruses that keep us in check with population, it would accelerate our growth as a species, making it much more vital for us to become a space faring species. It would have a potential of actually folding back on us and making is become extinct due to the fact we used up all our resources, over-fishing, over-hunting, and over-farming our planet to the point nothing is left which would leave us in an sorry state. We would probably have to make some very unethical and unmoral choices just to survive as a species, such as eliminating the old and limiting the birth of newborns for the rest of our lives.

Even though I look towards the most humane and moral choices in life, I would agree it would probably be best to keep an cure secret till we become a space faring species, if we become a space faring species. Only time we should use it if we on the verge of being extinct or our populations are being wiped out by a super virus. It might seem cold heart to deny a cure to people, but you got to realize we would run the risk of killing our planet and pretty much making our species extinct.

We would have to have extremely strict world wide birth licensing where there would be screening processes to determine whom are the fittest parents (plural) out of them there would have to be a lottery to award licenses in order have a child so that the Human population can be shrunk and maintained at a sustainable level.


#21    DieChecker

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 01:41 AM

Even if we wiped out viruses, we'd still have fungal and bacterial infections. And if we wiped out those, we'd still have the billions and trillions of tiny bugs (viral, bacterial, fungal) living in every other creature on Earth to watch out for. And then there is also prions, like mad cow disease. And then there is still genetic diseases and mental disease. I just don't see it happening. Not without moving humanity into sterile environments and staying there and geneticially screening out ALL genetic disorder recessive gene people from the gene pool. So, that might leave what... a couple dozen people living on the Moon with no worrys about disease??

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#22    Zel3le__

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 02:38 AM

Say that they find a cure next week. A break-through in a lab somewhere in the mountains. First thing's first, the-said scientist who discovered the cure would automatically cure himself/herself. Next goes the ultimate question of whether or not this cure would be able to be replicated in any way. If so, the first few samples would immediately go to the other assistants working along-side the said scientist. Next goes to the millionaire-tycoons who are funding this project. Basically everyone involved with this project would receive the cure whether or not they are sick in any way. Next comes greed, where everyone involved will want one for their family, or someone they are close to. Then the next question will be if this cure is able to be replicated, will it be able to be mass-produced ? & if so, who will get it first ? The wealthy of course ! Yet the families in Africa suffering from AIDS & much more fatal infectious diseases will be one of the last to get this due to the greediness of humanity. WIll we use it ? Yes. Will the population increase by saving everyone from infectious diseases ? No. Because we would be curing all KNOWN infectious diseases. Yet as everyone knows, many if not most viruses & bacteria growing immune to many of the vaccines we have today. & so we would have to be constantly updating this cure, taking more money & time. During which the whole world will have gone down in chaos due to the steadily yet slow increasing population.

Edited by Zel3le__, 11 June 2012 - 02:40 AM.


#23    Uncle Sam

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 02:46 AM

What they are talking about is infections that can infect you either by sexual intercourse, airborne, by wounds, or by touch. All these type of infections are viral or bacterial in nature, but share the same base coding that causes them to become compatible with our body. It works by targeting the RNA in cells rewritten by viral or bacterial infections, thus actually be the first ever cure develop. Most modern cures are actually prevention, which prevents viral or bacterial infections from taking hold in your body when they enter your bloodstream. Of course it is not for all infections, just the most dangerous and potentially deadliest virus that has known way to combat.

Of course that doesn't eliminate fungal infections or parasites, which requires another way to combat them. There is actually no known prevention for Fungal Infections or Parasites, but there is ways to get rid of them or cure you body of them. Unlike Viral or Bacterial, it is not on a microscopic level and can be dealt with in a different manor, thus is not as lethal as Viral and Bacterial infections.

If you think about it, these are stopgaps that keep us from overpopulation the planet which can lead to very unmoral choices just to survive that can either devalue or revalue human life. Without them viral and bacterial infections, we would have overpopulated the planet a long time ago.

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#24    King Fluffs

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 05:04 AM

If we had a cure to get rid of everything I'd use it on myself and then sell the rest to the highest bidder.

Money ahoy!


#25    ranrod

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 09:11 AM

All you have to do is not allow people who get diseases to have children.  All disease would be gone in 3 generations or so.  Just to be sure, you can freeze sperm/eggs and not produce children until the donors lived a full life free of any disease (Heart disease, diabetes, cancer, etc).  A wide-range of disease would disappear.  Obviously this will never happen.  Somewhere between this and doing nothing we find the compromises we are willing to make in order to live without fear of disease.  Our relentless struggle to live lives free of disease will kill us all in an overpopulation cataclysms.


#26    libstaK

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 12:42 PM

Some of your "genetic management" ideals are scaring the beejesus out of me right now folks - just saying :unsure:

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#27    Socio

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 12:51 PM

View PostlibstaK, on 11 June 2012 - 12:42 PM, said:

Some of your "genetic management" ideals are scaring the beejesus out of me right now folks - just saying :unsure:

Not much different than how we manage other spices of animals today, to not take steps to manage our own species is absolutely irresponsible with a guaranteed catastrophic outcome.


#28    libstaK

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 12:54 PM

View PostSocio, on 11 June 2012 - 12:51 PM, said:

Not much different than how we manage other spices of animals today, to not take steps to manage our own species is absolutely irresponsible with a guaranteed catastrophic outcome.
Yes but disregarding a person's right to determining whether or not they wish to be a parent is going a little too far - diversity is also a part of the evolutionary process, what may be considered a genetic weakness could be the first tweek that leads to an alternate evolutionary path that proves beneficial in particular environmental circumstances, claiming we know what "perfection" is equates to having a "God" mentality.

"I warn you, whoever you are, oh you who wish to probe the arcanes of nature, if you do not find within yourself that which you seek, neither shall you find it outside.
If you ignore the excellencies of your own house, how do you intend to find other excellencies?
In you is hidden the treasure of treasures, Oh man, know thyself and you shall know the Universe and the Gods."

Inscription - Temple of Delphi

#29    karmakazi

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 02:22 PM

View Postspud the mackem, on 10 June 2012 - 09:51 PM, said:

Ok ,you jump first ..

It isn't about killing those who are alive, but stemming the number of new lives being conceived.

Rather than jump, just don't have kids.


View PostSocio, on 11 June 2012 - 01:02 AM, said:

We would have to have extremely strict world wide birth licensing where there would be screening processes to determine whom are the fittest parents (plural) out of them there would have to be a lottery to award licenses in order have a child so that the Human population can be shrunk and maintained at a sustainable level.


I'm not sure we have to go that far, in the US one of the issues is that the more kids you have the more tax breaks you get.  If that were reversed, the fewer kids you have the more tax breaks you get, childless people would pay the least taxes. I think that the financial repercussions alone would coax a lot of people into abstaining... in a much more gentle manner :)

Of course, to be fair the tax changes could only apply to births occuring at least a year after the tax change was written into law.

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#30    paperdyer

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 07:11 PM

Does anyone remember the Title of the Star Trek TOS where Kirk was kidnapped to a duplicate of the Enterprise in order to give a race a disease they had no cure for?  Their world had become so crowded that they wanted/needed diseases to cause death?  We'd eventually get that way here if diseases were erradicated.





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