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#172749 - 05/05/09 02:33 AM Re: Swine Flu recombined with HIV [Re: Grouch]
dougwalkabout Offline
Crazy Canuck
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 2580
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Well, "swine flu" has already combined with "lazy reporter syndrome" and the results are pretty devastating.

The resulting scourge of zombies with great hair was able to flash around the world at nearly the speed of light, infecting billions with fear and dread. Not to mention a craving for bottled water and N95 masks.

I may have to kill my television (i.e., make a dead thing deader).

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#172754 - 05/05/09 03:57 AM Re: Swine Flu recombined with HIV [Re: Grouch]
Arney Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 2485
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: Grouch
Why is the term "recombined" being used? Were swine flu and HIV combined at some point in the past?

Ah, I hadn't thought of the word that way. It isn't re-combined, as in "combined again". HIV and the flu were not the same virus in the past.

It's a genetics term and refers to a kind of mutation. When the flu virus is copying itself in the presence of a different virus that is copying itself, some of those genetic building blocks can get mixed together (this is the recombination part) so the final product is a new combination of genes. A new strain has just been created with potentially different characteristics.

The influenza virus is particularly adept at this. It's one reason why the composition of the annual flu shot needs to be tweaked all the time. This propensity for recombination is also why health authorities want to try and minimize the spread of this H1N1, even though it seems to only produce a mild case of the flu.

Many think that things have been overkill so far, but this process of recombination could allow this mild flu virus to suddenly pick up some lethality. The more people that it infects, the greater the chance that this person has another infection that H1N1 could recombine with. So you end up with a new strain that not only spreads like a seasonal flu, but now is much more lethal. Or even a strain that is much more infectious could do a lot of damage due to the sheer numbers of people infected. That scenario is what still keeps health authorities up at night thinking about H1N1.

"Why are authorities worried about this mild new strain but aren't as worried about the regular flu?" you might ask. The seasonal flu is almost always just a variation of strains that we humans have been exposed to year after year, so we tend to build up natural immunity to it over time and we have an idea of what the virus is capable of. It would take a radical mutation to really surprise us with the seasonal flu, although technically, that's possible, too.

This H1N1 strain is completely new to us to start with, so no one knew if it would produce a mild disease or whether it would tear through the population because we don't already have any immunity to it. The number of suspected deaths in Mexico in the beginning of the epidemic put everyone on high alert. We lucked out so far with H1N1.

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#172761 - 05/05/09 11:42 AM Re: Swine Flu recombined with HIV [Re: Arney]
Grouch Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 07/02/08
Posts: 395
Loc: Ohio
Thanks for the clarification on terminology, Arney, and for the explanation of why this flu strain has caused such a stir.

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#172762 - 05/05/09 11:56 AM Re: Swine Flu recombined with HIV [Re: Grouch]
Russ Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 4552
Loc: SOCAL
Recombined as in Recombinant?
Recombinant virus

Recombinant DNA

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#172764 - 05/05/09 12:48 PM Re: Swine Flu recombined with HIV [Re: clearwater]
ki4buc Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 11/10/03
Posts: 710
Loc: Augusta, GA
Retrovirus

I knew I had hear recombinant before and related to retroviruses. Retroviruses insert their DNA into the host organism (a la HIV-1). There is evidence that the human genome contains DNA from ancient viruses. I think it's still a work in progress, and nothing definitive as for a theory that intersects with evolution.

If I can find the article, I'll post the info.

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#172768 - 05/05/09 02:10 PM Re: Swine Flu recombined with HIV [Re: Arney]
Arney Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 2485
Loc: California
Well, I've only been able to find one other article today that mentions this HIV + flu turning into a super virus idea, and that article seems to refer back to that original UPI article as a source. That lack of wider coverage probably means this first UPI article was a mistake.

Actually, it's rather annoying. This is the article and when you read it, it seems to imply that the head of the WHO, Dr. Margaret Chan, is afraid of the flu and HIV mixing genetically in an interview with the Financial Times. Financial Times? That's a serious newspaper, and the head of the WHO is a serious position, so it must be true, right? In this article, you see this:

"Disease experts are especially concerned that the ability to mutate seen so far in the virus could eventually see it combine with the human immunodeficiency virus, which causes AIDS."

However, the only interviews with Dr. Chan that I could find at the Financial Times website are either this or this , and in neither article does she mention this idea. Finally, I noticed at the bottom of the article that the UPI article is a source, so this reporter apparently just got the idea from there.

So, I think we can officially put this one to rest.

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#172771 - 05/05/09 03:44 PM Re: Swine Flu recombined with HIV [Re: Arney]
Meadowlark Offline
Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 154
Loc: Northern Colorado



For those of us needing to brush up on how viruses work, here is an extremely helpful blog put out by Dr. Racaniello, a microbiology professor at Columbia University:

http://www.virology.ws/

_________________________
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Along the mountain track,
And as I go, I love to sing,
My knapsack on my back


Current kits: http://forums.equipped.org/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showgallery&Number=241840

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#172810 - 05/06/09 01:36 PM Re: Swine Flu recombined with HIV [Re: clearwater]
paramedicpete Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/09/02
Posts: 1920
Loc: Frederick, Maryland
Both HIV (and other retroviruses) and influenza viruses have been around long enough, so if recombination were possible, it would have occurred long before now.

Pete

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#172812 - 05/06/09 02:29 PM Re: Swine Flu recombined with HIV [Re: paramedicpete]
massacre Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 12/07/05
Posts: 781
Loc: Central Illinois
I'm no expert, but I think that Flu and HIV are probably too dissimilar genetically to even combine, let alone produce an effective offspring. I think as stated above, this is likely bad reporting or worse yet, intentionally bad reporting.

But, there is fear that it could combine with other influenza viruses: http://blogs.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2009/05/exclusive-meet.html

And I'm fairly sure that's a legit source.
_________________________
Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards.

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#172836 - 05/06/09 04:38 PM Re: Swine Flu recombined with HIV [Re: massacre]
paramedicpete Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/09/02
Posts: 1920
Loc: Frederick, Maryland
Quote:
I'm no expert, but I think that Flu and HIV are probably too dissimilar genetically to even combine, let alone produce an effective offspring. I think as stated above, this is likely bad reporting or worse yet, intentionally bad reporting.

But, there is fear that it could combine with other influenza viruses: http://blogs.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2009/05/exclusive-meet.html

And I'm fairly sure that's a legit source.



Exactly.

Pete

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