If there is one ERV I genuinely love talking about on ERV, its PERVs– Porcine Endogenous Retroviruses.
And you all should care about them too– Pigs and their PERVs (or, lack of PERVs, or lack of infectious PERVs) might one day have a direct impact on you or your friends/family.
Clinical trials involving tissue from genetically distinct pigs has already started Down Under, and apparently research in the US and UK is now considered ‘imminent’.
Very, very cool update– Im glad the PERVs are under control and this kind of research can move forward.
Of course, there are ethical positions to consider (can a vegan receive pig blood? do we want to kill a creature to save someone with Parkinsons? for corneas?) and of course we still need to remain vigilant:
That was challenged by Robin Weiss, professor of virology at University College, London, and an expert on retroviruses. He said yesterday: “I don’t think the risk issues have been resolved. That doesn’t mean clinical trials shouldn’t go ahead but there would need to be very close monitoring of patients to ensure they were not picking something up from pigs.”
But of course there are going to be stupid concerns from stupid people worried about homologous tinikering DNA to create manimals:
“Listen to reason, going where angels fear to tread mixing pigs with humans, is still a long way of… Who really knows the end result of it all…
Best response in the history of ever?”
“Pig-humans, that’s what will happen. Half-man, half-pig, like the Minotaur, except less bull and more pig. It’s bound to, because you thought of it, and scientists and stuff never ever think of that sort of thing. They just carry on with their crazy experiments without checking for immune system rejection problems, or transplant induced cancers, or whether all those people who walked into the lab yesterday have walked out today on all four trotters! They just stick pigs bits straight into humans with barely a care in the world. They’re mad, mad I tell you!”