Is HIV going airborn!!!?

P.F. Watson mbpfw at s-crim1.dl.ac.uk
Sun Apr 30 15:12:02 EST 1995


Belglobul (belglobul at aol.com) wrote:
: Hi,

: Apparently we are talking of science fiction here. HIV and influenza
: belong to two unrelated familly of viruses which, as far as I know, would
: have no chance to recombine naturally. Although HIV is extremelly harmfull
: inside the body, this virus is also extremelly fragile and does not
: tolerate exposure to oxygene for a long time. That is why HIV is virtually
: not active in dry blood. On the other hand, HIV is produce in very low
: amounts in saliva and sweat and in these fluids, HIV is also practically
: inactive. Taken together, the probability to obtain a serie of mutation
: leading to a new airborn HIV that would keep its infectivity, is
: extremelly low.

I wouldn't want to disagree with this entirely sensible points but would
like to include for consideration man's intervention in the form of 
recombinant DNA research. Natural recombination is a very rare event but
with DNA now being isolated in concentrated states, many orders of magnitude
beyond that found in nature, what were very rare events could become more
probable. We could find ourselves relying upon the precautionary actions
of research scientists rather than the blind dice throwing of Nature.

Phil




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