Archive | AIDS RSS feed for this section

Memorial Day Weekend Cultural Offerings

26 May
Nurse Jackie (ShowTime).  Two comments I saw posted somewhere were spot on.  Edie Falco is so good as Jackie it has eclipsed her work in the Sopranos. And Nurse Jackie has become so wretched, such a liar and such a bad mother, we want her character killed off (or in a coma for a year?) while the show continues led by another character,  Nurse Zoey.


The new X-Men movie really is only a B movie.  It wraps things up too neatly, resurrecting dead characters as it heals all wounds via time travel and its giving of mulligans.  Saccharin.  The CGI is cheesy.  There is one great action sequence where Quicksilver, played by Evan Peters, rescues Magneto from a maximum security cell.  Poor Hugh Jackman, who is looking older in close ups with the Wolverine make up, was forced to work out inhumanly to produce a truly gigantic set of back and shoulder muscles, just so they could have a gratuitous scene where he walks across a bedroom and shows his ass.


The Normal Heart (HBO).  Julia Roberts gets to play not a hooker or a secretary with a brave heart of gold, but a polio crippled doctor with one.  She has one chew up the scene monologue where she gets to tell off NIH bureaucrats who centrally plan medical research, delaying studies for over 3 years and creating a national medical policy of refusing to cooperate with scientists in France and other countries.  Matt Bomer and Mark Ruffalo play a couple, who are respectively a New York Times reporter and AIDS activist, at the center of the response to the AIDS crisis.  Jim Parsons plays a social service nun.

It’s funny how still no one has looked at how FDA sclerotization of medical markets prevented new HIV  drugs from coming on line for so long, even today when we have the VA committing fraud to cover up its letting patients die and new reports that every other country in the world had much better sunscreens than the USA, while ours haven’t changed for years because the FDA says it can’t get around to approving new ingredients because of a back log of work.

I’m watching it as I write this.  It’s not bad, and the production values are high, but it has a little feel of the typical “progressive” stations of the cross, where the participants self-congratulate as they relive their glory days (usually it’s civil rights) as a way of clearing their mind of any recognition of their destructive and murderous policies, from drones to failed schools.

Would AIDS already be cured if we had a free market?

26 Jan
BigHomo: Would AIDS already be cured if we had a free marke…: The FDA famously reduces the speed with which new drugs and treatments come to market, and imposes costs and burdens that mean many drugs a…

Would AIDS already be cured if we had a free market?

The FDA famously reduces the speed with which new drugs and treatments come to market, and imposes costs and burdens that mean many drugs a never created and many small pharmaceutical companies never even get started.  Only giant corporations can deal with the regulations, and so they are happy to be protected from new competitors.  Socialist historian Gabriel Kolko wrote definitive works on how progressives, the New Deal, and regulatory agencies simply serve big business.  Most innovation in today’s economy occurs in Internet related firms, because they were too new and too over the heads of regulators for them to begin regulating.

Now an AIDS cure may come, not from the giant budgets of NIH and the federal government, but from a smaller Australian research institute:

Queensland scientist develops treatment to ‘keep HIV in check’

The Queensland Institute of Medical Research believes it may be developed into the closest thing modern medicine will get to a cure.
“This has the possibility – not to eliminate the virus – but hopefully to allow us to reconstitute a human immune system that is resistant to HIV,” Associate Professor David Harrich said.
He said they experimented on a normal protein usually used by the HIV virus to replicate itself in human cells and mutated it to create the “Nullbasic” protein.
“We now have a very potent protein that can stop HIV from growing in cells,” he said.

“Instead of being an activator of HIV, it’s an inhibitor of HIV.”
Associate Professor Harrich runs the only research lab in Queensland working on Human Immunodeficiency Virus, and hopes to proceed to animal trials later this year.
“The reason we got so encouraged was because of just how well this protein worked in the cell culture, so we’re fairly convinced the animal model study will be successful,” he said.
With animal then human trials predicted to take five to 10 years, Associate Professor Harrich said the ultimate goal would be to develop a gene therapy treatment – similar to therapies provided to people with cancer – that would replace current regimes of antiretroviral drugs.
“With a single therapy that you would have long-lasting protection from the virus and could lead a drug-free life,” he said.
For Associate Professor Harrich, the result comes after more than 20 years of working on the virus, including in the early days of the AIDS epidemic when he was resident at the University of California, which was heavily involved in its identification and early treatment.
“So this whole project that I’m working on right now actually started in that same lab in UCLA,’’ he said.
The findings have been published in the journal Human Gene Therapy.
He said as exciting as this development was, it was no reason to ease up on public health such as practising safe sex and not sharing needles.
“Prevention is still the best cure,” he said.
“Where we come in is when it’s too late.” 
Around the world, researchers are working on several approaches to improve the treatment of HIV and a global strategy to find a cure was unveiled in Washington last year.
The Alfred hospital’s Infectious Diseases Unit director, Professor Sharon Lewin, is pioneering one approach.
Professor Lewin, who is also co-head of virology at Melbourne’s Burnet Institute, is testing the ability of an existing drug to ‘‘wake up’’ the virus in cells where it hides and lies dormant. The theory is the reawakened virus would kill the cell it inhabits, thereby self-destructing.
Another potential cure under investigation internationally involves boosting the immune system to mimic a group of HIV patients who can control the virus naturally.
This group of patients, known as ‘‘elite controllers’’, have low levels of the virus which don’t require drug treatment.
– with AAP