Why isnt there a cure for aids yet?

Is it not possible to find a cure for a virus without knowing where the original strain came from?

It’s quite easy… if the virus is the same in each case, as in things like Polio, Measles, etc.

And it’s not so much a cure, because once you get a virus disease, either your body kills it, it kills you, or your body lives with it.

The problem with coming up with a vaccine for AIDS/HIV is that it changes in just about each case. A vaccine for my HIV might not work on yours, or his or hers.

If you’ve ever read The Stand, the exact same thing is the reason that the Super Flu was so deadly.

HIV mutates so quickly that the body will produce antibodies (either naturally or induced by a vaccine) to one strain of the virus, but these antibodies will not bind to a virus that has a mutation that alters the sites the antibody binds to.
I suspect this has to do with the enzyme, RNA polymerase (reverse DNA polymerase), HIV uses to synthesise copies of its genome and splice them into the genome of the host cell.
I guess this enzyme would not have the same repair mechanisms that otherwise analogous enzymes in the body do.
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starman, RNA polymerase * can’t * have the repair mechanisms that dna polymerase/other enzymes use. RNA is single stranded. So the repair enzymes have no 2nd strand to compare it against and therefore can’t repair.

as for the OP tristan nailed it on the head. HIV is highly mutatable.

I presume the answer to the original question is that knowing where it came from wouldn’t help much…
If I tried to draw a parallel with the common cold, for which there is a new vaccine every year for the biggest anticipated problem, but which doesn’t help against anything else, would that be far wrong?

If that’s true, could you be vaccinated against AIDS x41b, without being usefully protected against any other strain?

On top of that, if you already had it, would a vaccine be useless?

Yes, if I got vaccinated against HIV a, HIV b will still get me.

And no. The idea of a vaccine is to expose the system to a weakened or dead version of the virus so as to let the body make antibodies to fight it with.

If you already have the disease, you’re body already has the antibodies.

But if you are infected with aids, then are you surely doomed to die then?

I mean, there “has” to be some kinda limit to how fast the strains can mutate right? so if you introduced a vaccine that works fast enough, then it should be able to kill em right?

We’ll all doomed to die, eventually. Medical science now has “cocktails” of multiple drugs so that AIDS is not the quick death sentence it once was.

The problem with vaccinating one with the type of virus he has is that the virus mutates in the body.

Yes, because there is no vaccine for the common cold. You’re thinking of the flu.

Vaccines don’t work like that. They work by priming your immune system to specific antigens, usually proteins. Your immune system will then attack anything with that antigen on it. But even if there are only a few viruses in your body that have mutated so they no longer have that specifc antigen, they will survive and reproduce again.

There was another, quite long thread on this subject a month or two ago.

There’s a new vaccine every year for Influenza. Unless I’m severely misreading the news, I don’t recall any vaccines for the common cold.

DNA Polymerase is used in replication. RNA Polymerase is used in transcription; everybody has it. Retrovirii like HIV have something called Reverse Transcriptase that allows DNA to be transcribed from RNA. That’s what you’re thinking of.

The mutation rate for HIV is astoundingly high–my biochem professor says it has the highest mutation rate on the planet. Here are some statistics she gave us:

HIV-1 mutation rate: 3.4 X 10[sup]-5[/sup] mutations per base per replication

HIV-1 replication rate in vivo (this is in an untreated patient): 10[sup]10[/sup] replications daily

mutations generated daily: (3.4 X 10[sup]-5[/sup])(10[sup]10[/sup]) = 340,000 mutations per base daily

Now, granted, many of those mutations result in a non-functional virion, but it’s still faster than the immune system can keep up. And if you are on one anti-viral drug, you’re essentially selecting for a mutant strain that can get past the drug (that’s why there’s the triple cocktail therapy–3 different strategies must simultaneously be bypassed via mutation, which is far less likely than just one).

Additionally, cells in the lymphatic system maintain infectious HIV-1 particle stocks. So, even if you destroyed all of the virus in the blood, you have these cells that HIV can “hide out” in for years at a time.

They’re working on it: AIDS vaccine shows promise in blacks and Asians. Kind of ironic if you think of all those who claimed AIDS was made by whites to kill blacks.

OTOH, Ihave to question the racial classification being used since they talk about “hispanics” which the US government defines as an ethnic, not racial, group and hispanics can be of any race.

Do we have anything that will cure any virus? I thought our current antibiotics and such were only effective against non-virus microbes (bacteria, etc).

In any case, even making a vaccine for a virus that kills one’s immune system has to be a tricky business in the first place.

There are some drugs that can cure some virus diseases, acting on the cell walls. Two drugs can shorten the duration of influenza, if taken early enough. Smegheadcan give more details.

There are a few antiviral drugs out now. Acyclovir (IIRC) for herpes comes to mind.

Very true.