why change mycoplasma to make it cause Gulf War Illness.

Dr. Hans J. Kugler h.kugler at ix.netcom.com
Fri Sep 1 01:47:08 EST 1995

In <425qck$a2a at ixnews6.ix.netcom.com> jrken at ix.netcom.com (James
Kennedy ) writes: 
>It is gratifying that an etiology for Gulf War Syndrome may well have
>been found and that there may be an effective treatment via
>tetracycline and quinolone antibiotics.  It would seem unlikely
>that a mycoplasma such as this would be used in bacteriological
>warfare.  Induction of a long incubation period chronic disease  would
>seem a poor battlefield strategy. 
>It seems more likely that a complex of environmental circumstances may
>have been  responsible.  Perhaps this particular mycoplasma was
>in the area and the sudden influx of large numbers of  non-immune and
>circumstantially stressed  military personnel  presented an ideal host
>for this pathogen.  
>Hopefully, the treatment modality will shortly appear in the medical
>literature so that it may be more widely used and evaluated.  So far I
>have only seen it on the NET.  Fortunately, the treatment is safe and
>hope that it lives up to its promise.
>J.R. Kennedy 

Read bionet.molbio.hiv posting # 1395.
Effective treatment is doxycycline; Nicolson, JAMA 273:618-619, 1995.
Why wouyld it be unlikely that a mycoplasma like this would be used in
biological warfare?????????????
These mycoplasmas were found to contain the HIV-1 envelope gene and/or
the HIV-1 polymerase gene. See "Summary of Persian Gulf War Illness
Pilot Study on Mycoplasmic Infections." Prof. Garth Nicolson and Nancy
Nicolson, PhD, Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Blvd.,
Houston, TX 77030. Send s.a.s. envelope (3 stamps) for reprint please
don't call.
And now "why would somebody change this relatively innocent mycoplasma
and include parts of HIV?"
Because somebody wanted to make a very mean mama (infectious, lethal,
inducing several diseases) out of it. Who would look for it as cause??
A little bit more science:
A mycoplasma possessing the HIV-1 envelope gene could theoretically
have been engineered to make it more invasive and pathogenic. The HIV-1
envelope gene codes for a surface glycoprotein, gp 120, that is
involved in virus attachment and entry into cells. The gp 120 molecule
recognizes receptors on the lymphocytes and other cell surfaces. This
could result in opportunistic cell attachment and penetration, and
since the receptor recognized by gp 120 is present on many types of
cells, the modified mycoplasma could be capable of invading tissues.
                                       Hans J. Kugler, PhD
                           Editor, Preventive Medicine UP-DATE
PS: For more details:
Chronic Fatigue Illness and Operation
Desert Storm. Prof. Garth Nicolson, Nancy Nicolson, PhD
Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine, in press, 1995.

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