HIV/AIDS: Can mosquitos hold the cure???

Question

Hi, my name is Christopher and I am a student in Des Moines Iowa. Since I have been studying the structure and characteristics of the HIV virus, myself and a group of other students have been given the topic HIV/AIDS to discuss for our biology class report. * The question we are supposed to answer is why some scientists believe that HIV does not cause AIDS?* The only reason I could attain for this proposition is that HIV has such a long incubation period before any signs of the disease appear(up to 10 to 12 years) that some scientists believe that they aren't related.

  • I have one other question, is it possible to check why mosquitos cannot carry the HIV virus? It seems that they have some immunity to the virus, is it possible that a cure(in the form of a protein) could be found from the mosquito? If you could answer these 3 questions I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you!!!

Answer

Well, Chris, I don't want to do your term paper for you - I have done my share and that was painful enough. And the topic chosen is a bit unusual. There are books and articles - mostly written by a Dr Peter Duesberg in Berkeley California - who has been the most outspoken skeptic. And there are books by others as well. A search for articles by him would help you see what they argue. And there are articles written by others that review his arguments and refute them. You mention one reason why someone could dismiss the role of HIV itself... and there are others that some have used.

However about mosquitoes - there are many animals that cannot be infected with HIV - not just mosquitoes. This is one reason why it is very difficult to develop a model in animals to test medication approaches before giving them to humans - because of specific proteins that HIV uses to attach to cells, that only we have. But you are right we do use these specific observations to try and create medications that could block HIV from entering cells. So far, there is only one approach that is showing success - this is called T-20. But there have been others tried, and perhaps more to come.

So - get to work on that paper instead of fooling around on that computer! we need all the talented minds possible to beat this thing... good luck. CC