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admin 09.03.2016

As the high-season for certain common cold viruses begins to wind down this month, to be followed by the flu season soon after, we’re starting to hear about going in for our annual flu vaccine. The common cold is actually an infection of the upper respiratory tract, caused by any one of many viruses, each with multiple variations. We’ve seen how hard it is to predict the two or three dominant strains of influenza that circulate in any given year for a flu vaccine. Researchers have estimated that the common cold costs close to $25 billion annually in lost productivity in the U.S. In the meantime, until we come up with more tools to fight the cold, keep washing your hands, stay home from work when you’re sick, toss used tissues and sneeze into your elbows, not your hands.
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV): RSV is common, and normally causes mild respiratory tract infection. Influenza: A respiratory virus that circulates each winter, and can cause a range of respiratory infections. So here is my new question: You know and I know that I am not the only doctor who knows that there are nutrients which are safe, inexpensive, self sterilizing, need no refrigeration and work to support normal immunity. New Zealand is preparing for an Ebola outbreak, so is the UK, so is Germany (to which an Ebola patient is being transported for treatment). Everyone needs to know that they have this option and right now the media is howling that there is no treatment, no prevention. They are either misinformed or lying, but that error or lie will kill vast numbers of people. Over the past two years, the phrase a€?HIV curea€? has flashed repeatedly across newspaper headlines. The progression from HIV infection to AIDS and eventual death occurs in over 99% of untreated casesa€”making it more deadly than Ebola or the plague.
HIV disrupts the bodya€™s natural disease-fighting mechanisms, which makes it particularly deadly and complicates efforts to develop a vaccine against it.
In three decades, over 25 highly-potent drugs have been developed and FDA-approved to treat HIV.
In the three decades since, over 25 more highly-potent drugs have been developed and FDA-approved to treat HIV.
This near-immortal, sleep-like state allows HIV to persist in white blood cells in a patienta€™s body for decades. Latent HIVa€™s near-immortal, sleep-like state allows it to persist in white blood cells in a patient’s body for decades. HIV researchers call this huge pool of latent virus the a€?barrier to a cure.a€? Everyonea€™s looking for ways to get rid of it. Around a decade ago, scientists began to talk amongst themselves about what a hypothetical cure could look like. The functional cure approach acknowledged that latency alone was not the barrier to a cure for HIV.
The first hint that a cure for HIV might be more than a pipe-dream came in 2008 in a fortuitous human experiment later known as the a€?Berlin patient.a€? The Berlin patient was an HIV-positive man who had also developed leukemia, a blood cancer to which HIV patients are susceptible. Fortunately for the Berlin patient, doctors were able to find a compatible bone marrow donor who carried a unique HIV-resistance mutation in a gene known as CCR5. For the last five years, the Berlin patient has remained off treatment without any sign of infection. Researchers have continued to try to find more practical ways to rid patients of the latent virus in safe and targeted ways.
In the meantime, doctors in Boston have attempted to tease out which of the two cure methods was at work in the Berlin patient. But there was one more hopea€”the a€?Mississippi baby.a€? A baby was born to an HIV-infected mother who had not received any routine prenatal testing or treatment. Clearing out latent virus may still be a feasible approach to a cure, but the purge will have to be extremely thorough. The less latent virus that remains, the less chance there is that the virus will win the game of chance. Our calculations show that a€?apparent curesa€?a€”where patients with latent virus levels low enough to escape detection for months or years without treatmenta€”are not a medical anomaly. Many researchers are working to augment the bodya€™s ability to control the infection, providing a functional cure rather than a sterilizing one. In the meantime, treating all HIV-infected individualsa€”which has the added benefit of preventing new transmissionsa€”remains the best way to control the epidemic and reduce mortality. Funding for NOVA Next is provided by the Eleanor & Howard Morgan Family Foundation.Original funding for NOVA Next was provided by Amy and Joshua Boger. National corporate funding for NOVA is provided by Google and Cancer Treatment Centers of America.
Modern science has eradicated smallpox, extended life expectancy, and made huge gains in battling some of the world's deadliest diseases. Second, while sniffling and coughing is no fun, a cold is pretty low down on the list of ailments that need curing.A It can be a concern for infants, the elderly, or those with pre-existing respiratory conditions, but "for the majority of us, a common cold is more annoyance than threat," says Ian Mackay, a virologist at the University of Queensland. Still, in 2002, researchers calculated that the annual cost of lost productivity because of colds is $25 billion. We talked to a number of experts to get the full story on why we haven't cured the common cold a€” and whether we ever will. There are only about three strains of flu each season, while "there are usually 20-30 different types of rhinovirus circulating each season in one geographic area," explains Yury A.
Plus, even if you could, Thomas Smith of the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston says, "somehow stuff 100 different strains into one shot," that would take care of only the most common cold-causing virus. More than 200 viruses can cause what a sick person would recognize as a cold, including "some strains of influenza virus, adenoviruses, coronaviruses, enteroviruses, [and] respiratory syncytial virus," Bochkov says. Smith, who worked on such research in his lab at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, tells us that some of the approaches they were testing "really did work," at least in the lab.
Furthermore, colds are not usually life-threatening, so the Food and Drug Administration would have a very low threshold for the kind of side effects that would be considered worth it. Numerous researchers are working on something called broad-spectrum antivirals, which would target a wide variety of viruses.
Todd Rider, formerly a senior staff scientist at MIT Lincoln Laboratory and a researcher at Draper Laboratory in Cambridge, developed one such compound, called DRACO. It generated a lot of media buzz when it was first announced in 2011, but Rider has struggled to move the research forward since then. While DRACO and other related research, like that led by Leo James at Cambridge University's Laboratory of Molecular Biology, seem very promising, much more testing over many years is needed to see whether this approach will be effective and safe in humans. There's some evidence that old-fashioned tips like gargling salt water and swallowing honeyA can ease cold symptoms, but most oft-touted curatives a€” like megadoses of vitamin C a€” show little benefit when tested. So why does influenza have a vaccine — albeit with limited and varying effectiveness — but not the other viruses that give us the cold? Even so, attempts are still being made to develop vaccines against some of the viruses that cause the common cold.

For many of us it’s just a minor annoyance that gives us a drippy nose, a cough, a sore throat, and some time in bed resting. We used to think viruses like rhinovirus and coronaviruses only caused mild illness, but that thinking has changed. Researchers are working on a vaccine to protect infants against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), the most common cause of respiratory infection in infants under 1. Jonathan Gubbay is an assistant professor of pediatrics and laboratory medicine and pathobiology at the University of Toronto.
It has close to 100 different serotypes, and two spikes throughout the year — a larger one in the fall and a smaller one in the spring. Influenza causes over 12,000 hospitalizations and approximately 3,500 deaths in Canada each year. It is a cause of croup (inflammation in the upper airways) in young children and can also cause pneumonia and other respiratory infections. It can cause a range of respiratory infections and is a recognized cause of viral conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye. We have documented proof that the US Government has known for at least 5 years that Nano Silver may be the world’s hope. In March 2013, doctors from Mississippi reported that the disease had vanished in a toddler who was infected at birth. Biologists prickle at the words a€?vegetablea€? and a€?fruita€?a€”culinary terms which are used without a botanical basisa€”chemists wrinkle their noses at a€?chemical free,a€? and physicists dislike calling a€?centrifugala€? a forcea€”ita€™s not; it only feels like one.
In the early 1980s, doctors and public health officials noticed large clusters of previously healthy people whose immune systems were completely failing. Despite being identified only a few decades ago, AIDS has already killed 25 million people and currently infects another 35 million, and the World Health Organization lists it as the sixth leading cause of death worldwide.
Like all viruses, HIV gets inside individual cells in the body and highjacks their machinery to make thousands of copies of itself. With only two years between when the drug was identified in the lab and when it was available for doctors to prescribe, it wasa€”and remainsa€”the fastest approval process in the history of the FDA.
Together with HIV scientists, they suggested that by taking three drugs together, we could avoid the problem of drug resistance. When two to five of them are combined into a drug cocktail, the mixture can shut down the virusa€™s replication, prevent the onset of AIDS, and return life expectancy to a normal level.
By definition, an infection is cured if treatment can be stopped without the risk of it resurfacing.
White blood cells infected with HIV will occasionally transition to the dormant state before the virus kills them. Ita€™s a daunting task, because although a million HIV-infected cells may seem like a lot, there are around a million times that many dormant white blood cells in the whole body. There are other common viruses that have a long-lived latent state, such as the Epstein-Barr virus that causes infectious mononucleosis (a€?monoa€?), but they rarely cause full-blown disease when reactivated. His cancer was advanced, so in a last-ditch effort, doctors completely cleared his bone marrow of all cells, cancerous and healthy. Doctors still cannot detect any HIV in his body.A While the Berlin patient may be cured, this approach cannot be used for most HIV-infected patients. Most of the latent virus was likely cleared out during the transplant, and even if the virus remained, most strains couldna€™t replicate efficiently given the new cells with the CCR5 mutation. In the past five years, they have identified multiple anti-latency drug candidates in the lab. They conducted bone marrow transplants on two HIV-infected men with cancera€”but this time, since HIV-resistant donor cells were not available, they just used typical cells. Six months later, researchers reported that the virus had suddenly and rapidly returned in both individuals. Tests revealed high levels of HIV in the babya€™s blood, so doctors immediately started the infant on a drug cocktail, to be continued for life.
When they were relocated a few years later, doctors learned that the mother had stopped giving drugs to the child several months prior.
Just last month, the childa€™s doctors announced that the virus had sprung back unexpectedly. We need drugs that can carefully reactivate or remove latent HIV, leaving minimal surviving virus while avoiding the problems that befell earlier tests that reactivated the entire immune system. Researchers have developed ways to rapidly scan huge repositories of existing medicines for their ability to target latent HIV.
Studies are underway to render anyonea€™s immune cells resistant to HIV, mimicking the CCR5 mutation that gives some people natural resistance.
Those symptoms, incidentally, are mostly just your immune system kicking into high gear to fight off an infection, something that can manifest as inflammation in the throat and congestion in the nose. The National Institutes of Health estimates that people in the United States experience about one billion colds every year. If we can vaccinate against the most common strains of the flu, it seems as if we should be able to do the same thing for colds. Bochkov, an associate scientist in the department of pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. While much of this research is still in very early phases, it may offer the best hope for an eventual cold cure. It works by entering all cells and then destroying those in which it detects a viral infection. Every child can get up to 12 colds a year, and in adulthood we continue to get them on a regular basis. Finding a good target for a vaccine with such a huge number of potential suspects would be a challenge. But if you add up all the time it takes away in lost productivity, along with the more serious symptoms these viruses can cause among vulnerable populations, a vaccine for cold viruses would make a huge impact. Children under 5 years of age, people over 65 and pregnant women are most at risk from viral respiratory infections, especially influenza.
Four months later, researchers in Boston reported a similar finding in two previously HIV-positive men. Then, just this summer, researchers announced the same grim results for the child from Mississippi.
If you ask an HIV researcher about a cure for the disease, youa€™ll almost certainly be chastised.
The new condition became known as AIDS, for a€?acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.a€? A few years later, in 1984, researchers discovered the causea€”the human immunodeficiency virus, now known commonly as HIV. HIV replication is especially hard for the body to control because the white blood cells it infects, and eventually kills, are a critical part of the immune system. The chance that the virus would have enough mutations to allow it to avoid all drugs at once, they calculated, would simply be too low to worry about.
When you take a week-long course of antibiotics for strep throat, for example, you can rest assured that the infection is on track to be cleared out of your body.

When an infection grows in the body, the white blood cells that are best able to fight it multiply repeatedly, perfecting their infection-fighting properties with each new generation.
The first would involve purging the body of latent virus so that if drugs were stopped, there would be nothing left to restart the infection. HIV is, of course, different because the immune system in most people is unable to control the infection. Bone marrow transplants are extremely risky and expensive, and they would never be conducted in someone who wasna€™t terminally illa€”especially since current anti-HIV drugs are so good at keeping the infection in check. The Berlin patient case provides evidence that at least one of the two cure methods (sterilizing or functional), or perhaps a combination of them, is effective. Both patients continued their drug cocktails during and after the transplant in the hopes that the new cells would remain HIV-free.
Latent virus had likely escaped the detection methods availablea€”which are not sensitive enougha€”and persisted at low, but significant levels. The doctors administered all possible tests to look for signs of the virus, both latent and active, but they didna€™t find any evidence. It seemed that even starting drugs as soon as infection was detected in the newborn could not prevent the infection from returning over two years later. Most importantly, we should be extremely careful about using the word a€?cure,a€? because for now, wea€™ll never know if a person is cured until theya€™re not cured. Scientists have proposed multiple, cutting-edge techniques to engineer a€?smarta€? drugs for this purpose, but we dona€™t yet know how to deliver this type of treatment safely or effectively. These methods have already identified compounds that were previously used to treat alcoholism, cancer, and epilepsy, and researchers are repurposing them to be tested in HIV-infected patients.
It can also help researchers determine how good an anti-latency drug should be before ita€™s worth testing in a clinical trial. Vaccines that could be given after infection, to boost the immune response or protect the body from the virusa€™s ill effects, are also in development.
Even then, researchers would first have to find a rhinovirus that test subjects had not already been exposed to a€” a difficult task with so many strains circulating every year. In the Ontario Burden of Infectious Disease Study, published by the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences and Public Health Ontario, the common cold was found to cause over 3 million health-care visits a year. So too is anyone with a chronic respiratory disease such as asthma, underlying heart disease, diabetes, obesity, a neurological disorder or a weakened immune system. But for babies, RSV can have more serious consequences, including infections of the lower airways, such as bronchiolitis (inflammation of the lower airways) or pneumonia.
On the day this breakthrough was announced, health officials assured the public that a vaccine to protect against the dreaded infection was only two years away. But as the movie The Dallas Buyera€™s Club poignantly retells, AZT was not the miracle drug many hoped.
When the first clinical trials of these a€?drug cocktailsa€? began, both mathematical and laboratory researchers watched the levels of virus drop steadily in patients until they were undetectable. Though better than the alternative, drug regimens are still inconvenient and expensive, especially for patients living in the developing world.
After the infection is cleared, most of these cells will die off, since they are no longer needed. By the time drugs are started, a typical infected person contains millions of these cells with this a€?latenta€? HIV in them. All that remains of a latent virus is its DNA, which is extremely tiny compared to the entire human genome inside every cell (about 0.001% of the size). After the transplants, no HIV was detectable, but the real test came when these patients volunteered to stop their drug regimens. They chose not to re-administer drugs, and a year later, when the virus was still nowhere to be found, they presented the findings to the public.
Early prescriptions often elicited toxic side-effects and only offered a temporary benefit, as the virus quickly mutated to become resistant to the treatment.
They extrapolated this decline downwards and calculated that, after two to three years of treatment, all traces of the virus should be gone from a patienta€™s body.
However, to speed the counter-attack if the same infection returns, some white blood cells will transition to a hibernation state. Drug cocktails can prevent the virus from replicating, but they do nothing to the latent virus. The second approach would instead equip the body with the ability to control the virus on its own.
When they remained HIV-free a few months later, the results were presented at the International AIDS Society meeting in July 2013. The findings showed that even very small amounts of latent virus could restart an infection.
In the first three days, the cold is highly contagious and is spread to anyone who inhales or touches anything contaminated by the virus. This turned out to be the first of many overzealous predictions about controlling the HIV epidemic or curing infected patients. As a result, the virus easily outwits the bodya€™s immune defenses, eventually throwing the immune system into disarray.
When that happened, scientists believed, drugs could be withdrawn, and finally, a cure achieved.
They dona€™t do much in this state but can live for an extremely long time, thereby storing the a€?memorya€? of past infections. In this case, even if treatment was stopped and latent virus reemerged, it would be unable to produce a self-sustaining, high-level infection. It also meant meant that the anti-latency drugs in development would need to be extremely potent to give any hope of a cure. A cold lasts about a week, although a cough can persist for several days afterwards.Rhinoviruses, coronaviruses, coxsackieviruses and adenoviruses are just some of the many different types of cold viruses. That gives other obscure or otherwise innocuous infections a chance to flourish in the bodya€”a defining feature of AIDS. But when the time came for the first patients to stop their drugs, the virus again seemed to outwit modern medicine. Within a few weeks of the last pill, virus levels in patientsa€™ blood sprang up to pre-treatment levelsa€”and stayed there. They quickly reproduce and rupture from the cells to spread to cells in the rest of the upper respiratory tract.While we can treat the symptoms of a cold, we cannot find a single cure as there are so many types of virus and they mutate rapidly.

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