The fight against HIV

In biology, it’s all about shape. Enzymes, proteins, antibodies, blood vessels, cells, everything. They work best when they fit best or match in shape best. That’s why two new HIV antibodies have such potential.

Scientists report they’ve discovered possible new weapons in the war against HIV: antibody “soldiers” in the immune system that might prevent the AIDS virus from invading human cells.

According to the researchers, these newly found antibodies connect with and neutralize more than 90 percent of a group of HIV-1 strains, involving all major genetic subtypes of the virus.

That breadth of activity could potentially move research closer toward development of an HIV vaccine, although that goal still remains years away, at best, experts say.

HIV molecules evolve at a rapid pace. This makes it nearly impossible to produce antibodies at rates and in quantities sufficient to combat the disease on a long-term basis. However, there is one part of an HIV virus which remains virtually unchanged. This is important because it means there is a site with a consistent shape on the virus. That’s where these antibodies are being directed, thus offering a potentially powerful new tool in the fight against HIV.

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Comrade Physioprof in the comics

Take out the first sentence and this is perfect for Comrade Major Meltdown. (He actually does really, really, really, really, really care what women think of him.)

PZ’s challenge

PZ has a post about an interview from The Daily Show with Marilynne Robinson. In it, he issues a challenge:

Name one. Name one insight religion has ever given us that could not have been made by secular philosophers, that was also useful and true.

There isn’t one. Not a one.

Full report by Muir Russell

The full report on ‘Climategate’ by Muir Russell can be found here. Watch for how many conservatives change their tone from “The data was made up!” to just plain old ad hominen attacks on Jones et al.

Also, look at this reader comment from another article. (I’ve added italics for readability.)

“…it did revisit the now infamous e-mail exchange between Jones and a colleague in which the climatologist refers to a a ‘trick’ used to ‘hide the decline’ in a variable used to track global temperatures.
Some skeptics took that as proof that scientists were faking global temperature trends. Russell’s report rejected that conclusion, but did say the resulting graph was ‘misleading’ — although not intentionally so.”

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Russell’s report lies on this point. Clearly, if you direct someone to use a “trick” to “hide the decline” in a way that is in fact misleading, it’s just a bald-faced lie to say the deception wasn’t intentional.
Muir Russell, you lie.

This is infuriating. This user, azmaveth, aside from having a terrible user name, hasn’t even bothered to try and understand what any of the terms in the emails mean in a scientific context. He’s just another conservative who is concerned with the profit margins of corporations, not the truth of science.