Skip to main content
*** NOTE: Terms of Service Updated 21 Feb 2018 ***

Are HERVs an Answer to AIDS Mysteries

  • Published: 2010-09-04 : Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons.
  • Synopsis: HERVs human endogenous retroviruses might provide explanations that have been overlooked for 20 years.

Main Document

Why is it so hard to isolate and purify human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)Why has no one been able to see, by electron microscopy, a single HIV particle in the blood of AIDS patients, even those who have a "high viral load"Why does HIV seem to mutate with startling rapidity? AIDS researchers have not been able to come up with answers to these questions.

HERVs, human endogenous retroviruses, might provide explanations that have been overlooked for 20 years, writes Professor Etienne de Harven, M.D., in the fall 2010 issue of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons. HERVs are present in all of us, and fragments of their DNA may be confused with HIV in the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests used to estimate viral load.

The beautiful photographs of HIV published in both lay and scientific journals are embellished with special effects from computerized image reconstruction. Since they come from cell cultures, which are likely to be contaminated, the particles may be "elegant artifacts" rather than the exogenous virus a virus of external origin believed to cause AIDS, de Harven states.

About 8 percent of the human genome consists of sequences incorporated from retroviruses. When cells break down, DNA fragments are released into the circulation including these viral sequences. Patients with clinical AIDS carry a large spectrum of infectious diseases, so a high level of circulating DNA is expected.

While "AIDS Rethinkers" may challenge the role of HIV in AIDS, or even its existence, they are obligated to explain the observations of clinicians and researchers. HERVs are, at a minimum, a confounding variable that needs to be investigated, de Harven notes.

Puzzles involving the interpretation of diagnostic tests for HIV, the epidemiology and transmission patterns of AIDS, and strategies for prevention and treatment cannot be solved without broadening AIDS research beyond the narrow confines accepted by the "Orthodoxers," de Harven believes. Alternate hypotheses need to be objectively assessed, and conclusions must be based on scientific evidence rather than consensus.

Similar Topics

1 : World Mayors Sign Paris Declaration to End AIDS Epidemic : International Association of Providers of AIDS Care (IAPAC).
2 : Major Monoclonal Antibody Drug Trial for HIV Patients Underway : Alessandra Miguel-Descalso.
3 : Cryptococcosis and Meningitis : Disabled World.
4 : Edurant a New HIV Treatment Approved by FDA : U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
5 : HIV Vaccine Awareness Day : AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition.
From our HIV - Aids section - Full List (26 Items)

Submit disability news, coming events, as well as assistive technology product news and reviews.


Loan Information for low income singles, families, seniors and disabled. Includes home, vehicle and personal loans.


Famous People with Disabilities - Well known people with disabilities and conditions who contributed to society.


List of awareness ribbon colors and their meaning. Also see our calendar of awareness dates.


Blood Pressure Chart - What should your blood pressure be, and information on blood group types/compatibility.





1 : Free Eye Exams to Service and Working Animals in May from Veterinary Ophthalmologists
2 : Early Childhood Education Needs to be Accessible and Affordable
3 : How the Human Brain Can Tell Our Arms and Legs Apart
4 : Protein Levels in Spinal Fluid Correlate to Posture and Gait Difficulty in Parkinson's Disease

Citation


Disclaimer: This site does not employ and is not overseen by medical professionals. Content on Disabled World is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. See our Terms of Service for more information.

Reporting Errors: Disabled World is an independent website, your assistance in reporting outdated or inaccurate information is appreciated. If you find an error please let us know.