Tackling major killers - Infectious Diseases

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In the theater, Act One serves to introduce the characters and set the scene; in Act Two, conflict deepens and the real action begins. Act One of AIDS vaccine research debuted HIV, one of the first socalled retroviruses to cause a serious human disease. Unlike most other viruses, retroviruses insinuate their genetic material into that of the body cells they invade, causing the viral genes to become a permanent fixture in the infected cells and in the offspring of those cells. Retroviruses also reproduce rapidly and sloppily, providing ample opportunity for the emergence of mutations that allow HIV to shift its identity and thereby give the immune system or antiretroviral drugs the slip.

Aberrant, aggregated proteins feature in all these diseases, and so lessons learned from prions may be applicable to them as well. MORE TO E XPLORE Prions. Stanley B. Prusiner. 1997 Nobel Prize lecture. html Prion Biology and Diseases. Second edition. Edited by Stanley B. Prusiner. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, 2004. Advancing Prion Science: Guidance for the National Prion Research Program. Edited by Rick Erdtmann and Laura B. Sivitz. National Academy Press, 2004. SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN EXCLUSIVE ONLINE ISSUE COPYRIGHT 2005 SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, INC.

Cholerae and enterotoxigenic E. coli, to microbial toxins. Edible vaccines have also provided laboratory animals with some protection against challenge by the rabies virus, Helicobacter pylori (a bacterial cause of ulcers) and the mink enteric virus (which does 4 Allow callus to sprout JARED SCHNEIDMAN DESIGN 1 Cut leaf. shoots and roots. 5 Put in soil. Within three months, the plantlets will grow into plants bearing antigen-laden vaccine potatoes. not affect humans). It is not entirely surprising that antigens delivered in plant foods survive the trip through the stomach well enough to reach and activate the immune system.

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