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Why is AIDS so difficult to cure? How does the AIDS virus attack the body? In 1979, the first reported AIDS case occurred in New York, and by mid-June 1981, unusual immune system failure among gay men was surfacing in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) initially name the disease GRID, or gay-related immune deficiency, because it was prominently found among homosexuals.
It appeared to be a lifestyle-associated illness, linked to excessive stress to the immune system. Researchers believed that a highly infectious agent, which depleted T cells and could be transmitted through intercourse, blood, or blood products from mother to fetus, caused GRID. In July of 1982, the disease was renamed AIDS, or Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. Since then, the diseases origins, the factors affecting it, the causes behind it, the symptoms arising from it, the groups at risk from it, and the practices leading to it have been widely and comprehensively researched.
Despite painstaking efforts and billions of dollars spent on research, despite the numerous drugs created to control and relieve its various symptoms, there is still no cure for it. We ask the question, Why? . AIDS is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV. Hiv's coat of protein fits the receptors in certain types of white blood cells (T cells) in the human immune system. When the virus is taken into these cells, it reproduces and destroys the immune system cell in the process.
It attacks the body by attacking the immune system, making the person susceptible to and defenseless against many infections that he or she would normally be able to fight off easily. In many cases, HIV infection leads to AIDS, which ultimately leads to death. HIV is a retrovirus that is transmitted by the exchange of bodily fluids -- usually through sexual acts and the sharing of drug needles, mother to infant transmission, and sometimes by the contamination of blood used in transfusions. A retrovirus is a type of virus that contains RNA and produces a DNA analog (or counterpart) of its RNA by using a highly error-prone enzyme known as reverse transcriptase.
The virus is a complex one, with two coats of protein. The outer coating fits with the receptors of T cells and the inner coating contains strands of RNA along with a few different types of enzymes. Once the virus is taken into the cell, an enzyme makes reverse transcription take place, which turns the virus RNA into a corresponding set of DNA, which contains nine genes. A second set of enzymes insert the genes into the cells DNA, making the cell produce protein and RNA needed to make more viruses (we can see how the virus uses the human cell for reproduce), and the third set of enzymes makes these raw materials into new viruses and moves them out of the cell membrane. These then go on to infect other cells, and the process is repeated again and again, infecting the human body. The reason why AIDS is difficult to cure is because, as mentioned above, the copying process is error-prone, or sloppy.
Usually, when DNA is replicated in a cell, there is constant proofreading and repair to ensure that the correct type of DNA is being made. In the case of the AIDS virus, in the process of reverse transcription, there is no proofreading mechanism. This makes DNA made from the viral RNA very different from what is coded therein. As a result, every virus that is produced is slightly (but significantly! ) different from the one that produced it. This makes it hard for scientist to find a cure because the virus continuously mutates, making drugs that fit onto one kind of HIV ineffective against the others. However, there is hope for AIDS victims in the sense that scientists in the future will be able to make several drugs, which will be taken in combination.
These drugs will then act upon the virus by blocking its life cycle at various points, making the disease manageable, at the least. Since it began, the HIV/AIDS epidemic has claimed the lives of 21. 8 million people, and, up to date, has its grasp on 36. 1 million people. This is a very large amount, and considering the fact that there exist many more unreported and undiagnosed cases, AIDS has definitely wreaked havoc on human beings. It is anticipated that with the advancement of technology, increased awareness, and the advent of better and wider information dissipation, many ways to prevent the disease from spreading, lower the risks of contracting it, reduce the symptoms of victims even better, protect people from it and ultimately, eradicate the disease, will be found. At present, such hopes of a cure for AIDS are being bolstered by the discovery of new drugs that inhibit the virus effects. Hopefully, the near future holds a cure for the sufferers of this disease.
Investigate the concept of social Darwinism. What was this doctrine? When was it in fashion? What policies did it encourage? Social Darwinism is a belief that societies and human beings develop in a manner consistent with the principles of evolution proposed by Charles Darwin, i.
e. , that the survival of the fittest enables only superior people to gain wealth and power. Social Darwinism has been used to justify Imperialism, and an extreme example of it was Hitler and his Nazis. Although popular in the late 19 th century, it has been widely attacked in modern times. Charles Darwin (1809 - 82) wrote Origin of the Species, which was published in 1859. In it, he identified a simple mechanism for evolving complex multicellular life forms from single-celled life. He built his entire theory around one central concept that of natural selection.
His theory proposes that the way to get the best of everything is through a process of selection, which depends on two basic facts for its operation: 1) Every population has genetic diversity, and 2) Many more individuals are born than can possibly survive. This means that member of a population contain different characteristics, and those that survived, and consequently, reproduced, will pass on the characteristics that made their survival more likely to future generations. Nature selects those characteristics that will be propagated in any given species. This is Darwinism. From this rose Social Darwinism. Its doctrine was that the principles of biological evolution should be applied to human society.
It has been noted that while Darwinism is a valid scientific theory, Social Darwinism is an ideology. It was popular in the late 19 th century, or the late Victorian era, when some intellectuals cited Darwin in their defense of an economically and socially stratified society. It was most popular in England and America. It encouraged that the strongest or fittest should survive and flourish in society, while the weak and unfit should be allowed to die.
The theory was chiefly expounded by Herbert Spencer, whose ethical philosophies held an elitist view and received a boost from the application of Darwinian ideas such as adaptation and natural selection. Herbert Spencer, who was a popular Social Darwinist who lived in the 19 th century (1820 - 1903) was the first to use the phrase survival of the fittest, spoke of the Universal Law of Nature a law that a creature not energetic enough to maintain itself must die. In The Man Versus the State (1884) he argued that London's "good-for-nothings" ought not to be kept alive by charity but left to perish, for this was the "universal law of nature. " He is considered the father of Social Darwinism. Even before Darwin published his theory, Spencer was already thinking in terms of elitist, "might makes right" sorts of views.
However, Spencer quickly adapted Darwinian ideas to his own ethical theories. The concept of adaptation allowed him to claim that the rich and powerful were better adapted to the social and economic climate of the time, and the concept of natural selection allowed him to argue that it was natural, normal, and proper for the strong to thrive at the expense of the weak. After all, he claimed, that is exactly what goes on in nature every day. However, Spencer did not just present his theories as placing humans on a parallel with nature. Not only was survival of the fittest natural, it was also morally correct. Indeed, some extreme Social Darwinist's argued that it was morally incorrect to assist those weaker than oneself, since that would be promoting the survival and possible reproduction of someone who was fundamentally unfit.
Social Darwinism has been used to justify numerous exploits, which we classify as of dubious moral value today Colonialism, military action, and even brutal colonial governments who used oppressive tactics against their subjects. Social Darwinism was also applied to a social context. It provided a justification for the exploitative forms of capitalism (laissez-faire capitalism), and in its most extreme forms, it has been used to justify eugenics programs aimed at weeding "undesirable" genes from the population. The Nazi party in Germany to justify their eugenics programs also applied social Darwinist ideas. It seems that Social Darwinisms effects were all bad, but we must also take into consideration its good effects, which include the move to provide resources for those genuinely needing of support, and the call for hard work and to strive to make the quality of life better, and the need to move ourselves and not just depend on handouts. This ideology can be considered good, if not taken to an extreme, and if taken with the prevailing idea that every human being has a right to live, regardless of fitness, race, color, religion.
It is just up to that individual to make his or her life a fitting one to live. Bibliography: web Search Social Darwinism Trail and Hazen; The Sciences Dickens, Peter; Social Darwinism: Linking Evolutionary Thought to Social Theory (Concepts in the Social Sciences) Ibid Wilkins, John; Does Evolution Make Might Right? web
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