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Scientists talk about a woman who could defeat HIV for the first time in history without therapy

Human Immunodeficiency Virus, a retrovirus from the genus of lentiviruses that causes a slowly progressive disease - HIV infection / © Getty Images

Scientists from the USA in their new study, published in the journal Nature, reported the first possible case of a cure for the human immunodeficiency virus without a risky bone marrow transplant and even without drugs.

A California resident who contracted HIV in 1992 could become the world’s first patient to recover from the human immunodeficiency virus without a bone marrow transplant or even medication.

“Sustained drug-free control of HIV replication is naturally achieved in fewer than 0.5% of those infected, despite the presence of a replication-competent viral reservoir. Finding this ability to spontaneously maintain undetectable plasma viremia is a major goal of HIV treatment research,” the authors write.

The human immunodeficiency virus is introduced into the genome and forces the mechanisms of the cell to create copies, moreover, it prefers to “hide” in the genes. The immune system of some people can track down cells in the genome of the pathogen over time. The new study involved 64 people (“elite controllers”), who are just part of this extremely small group of people who are able to live with HIV without taking antiretroviral drugs and, in fact, without needing the help of doctors: in their bodies, judging by all, the virus is isolated in such a way that it cannot reproduce.

Probably, the researchers suggest, the whole point is in powerful T-lymphocytes, which ensure the recognition and destruction of cells carrying foreign antigens. Apparently, these T-lymphocytes destroyed the cells in which HIV was “hiding” in more accessible parts of the genome. And the remaining infected cells kept the pathogen in those “distant” regions of the genome, where it could no longer create copies (this applied to 11 study participants). At the same time, about 10 percent of people taking antiretroviral drugs, especially those who started therapy immediately after infection, also successfully suppress HIV even after the end of the drug intake. 

Among the test group was Loreen Willenburg, 66, from California, who was diagnosed with HIV in 1992. She has been involved in research for more than 15 years, and, with the exception of one test conducted several years ago (which showed a small amount of the virus), scientists have not been able to identify HIV in her tissues. Thus, for decades, her body was able to suppress the virus in a unique way. The patient appears to have achieved a “functional cure.”

The authors of the work explain their conclusions by the fact that they analyzed one and a half billion Willenburg blood cells, including using sophisticated new methods, and did not find any traces of the virus. The millions of intestinal and rectal cells studied also showed no signs of HIV.

“This unique group of people has provided a kind of proof of concept that the host’s immune response can achieve what is actually a clinical drug,” said Dr. Steve Dix of the University of California, San Francisco, one of the authors of the work. Scientists say this gives hope that the immunity of a small number of infected people who have followed antiretroviral therapy for many years can similarly detect the virus, “block” it, making it impossible to reproduce, and stop taking drugs. It is likely that such patients also need to be prescribed therapy to help strengthen the immune system.

Willenburg’s case is extremely important, because in the entire history of the circulation of the human immunodeficiency virus in the world, only three patients have been cured: for example, Adam Castillejo and Timothy Ray Brown  got rid  of the pathogen using stem cell transplantation, and a 35-year-old resident of the Brazilian city of São Paulo was treated according to the new scheme and was able to do without the grueling operation (however, some experts said that additional tests would be needed to confirm this discovery).

Of course, Willenburg’s cure has yet to be confirmed. “This is certainly encouraging, but it is still speculation,” recalled Dr. Una O’Dougherty, a virologist at the University of Pennsylvania. However, the physician noted that the results of the study and the analyzes of the patient as a whole impressed her.

The problem is that antiretroviral drugs can have serious side effects, including the risk of heart disease and organ damage, especially when medication is used for many years. Therefore, the so-called functional cure, if confirmed in the future, will change the lives of many HIV-positive patients.

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Bizzare & Odd

Did Angels visit a farm in Slovenia after Jerusalem?

A few days ago, a UFO hovered over the city of Podkoren in Slovenia, the appearance of which was recorded on Google Earth maps. The famous Taiwanese ufologist Scott Waring suggested that it could be an angel, given its bright glow and peculiar shape.

On his YouTube channel, Waring posted a photo of an unidentified object that glowed very brightly. The ufologist examined a number of photographs in the same area at different times and made sure that there was nothing reflecting there, which means that it is quite possible that these were events of biblical significance.

The researcher stressed that the trees are not lit. Consequently, the object is well above them. Given the brightness of the glow, it is likely that we are talking not only about UFOs, but also about angels that can visit people living in this area.

He recalled that similar objects were recorded in Jerusalem above a stone dome. The Bible tells a similar story. The author emphasized that he is not a religious person, and the conducted research only confirms his theory.

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Bizzare & Odd

Halloween 2020 is expected to have a full moon that hasn’t been seen since World War II

Photo: NASA / Kim Shiflett

Astronomers claim that the full moon on October 31 will be visible throughout the world with the exception of parts of Australia.

In 2020, the world’s population is waiting for a very unusual phenomenon that will be seen in almost all corners of the planet as reported by Cnet.

According to experts, this year on Halloween (October 31), the full moon will rise and will be visible to the whole world. Such an event will happen for the first time since the Second World War.

Astronomy expert Geoffrey Hunt says the last full moon seen on the entire planet occurred in 1944. He notes that there was also a full moon on Halloween in 1955, but was not visible to residents of western North America and the western Pacific.

In the same year, residents of North and South America, India, all of Europe and most of Asia will see the full moon for the holiday. Also, the full moon will be visible in Western Australia, but not in the central and eastern parts of the country.

Scientists remind that in its full phase the moon will be visible to the naked eye, but for high-quality images, you still have to use additional equipment.

“Photos of the moon with a smartphone are likely to be substandard. A telephoto lens will help you capture the moon in all its glory. Adjust the camera brightness so details are visible and not drowned out by the brightness of the moon,” Hunt says.

He also emphasizes that the next full moon, which will be visible from all corners of the planet, will not happen soon – in 2039.

“Of course, in the coming years, the full moon will be in October, but not on Halloween,” the expert notes.

A full moon on Halloween is a rare coincidence. We will be able to enjoy it very soon.

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Bizzare & Odd

A tourist found a thousand-legged creepy beast washed up on the coast of Wales

A traveler walked along the coast of the Irish Sea in Wales and found a creature similar to the mythical Cthulhu – with a thousand tentacles and a keen interest in people.

The man was preparing to call the ufologists, but the Internet suggested: you need not be afraid, but rejoice, because the monster costs a fortune. The sea world still remains largely unknown for the inhabitants of the land, and in fact there is a lot of interesting things in it: from an iguana that looks like a real Godzilla to real mutants. True, according to The Sun, the underwater kingdom still has something to surprise people with.

A tourist named Martin Green was vacationing with his family in North Wales on the coast of the Irish Sea and one evening decided to walk with his son along the water. The man was walking slowly along the shore when he saw an unusual creature on the sand. At first, Green decided that he saw a large snag from a fallen tree, then, approaching it, he thought that it was a piece of a large fin that washed ashore, but here Martin was not right. When the travelers approached the find, they felt uneasy – a large and living creature with thousands of tentacles looked at them.

Looking closely, the man saw that the find consists of many white many-legged shells. Perhaps at first Martin was ready to call Scully and Mulder, but the internet helped him figure out what was going on. Green’s son uploaded a photo of the unknown creature to Google and realized that he and his father were very lucky. It turned out that the creepy sea creatures are the so-called Gooseneck Barnacles, crustaceans. They live by attaching themselves to hard surfaces, usually rocks.

Martin and his son were lucky not only because they personally saw unusual creatures, but also because the find could enrich a family. In Portugal and Spain, shells are considered a delicacy and are sold for £ 25 apiece. Considering that, according to the family’s estimates, there were about two thousand shells on the snag found on the snag, the potential cost of the find is about 50 thousand pounds. Green did not elaborate on how he was going to deal with the shells – send them back to the ocean or sell them to Spain.

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