NOH MAH GAWD!!!
Researchers have identified a mysterious new disease that has left scores of people in Asia and some in the United States with AIDS-like symptoms even though they are not infected with HIV. [bolding original]
Researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have identified a new disease among people in Asia that causes AIDS-like symptoms but is not associated with HIV.
Researchers have discovered an adult-onset immunodeficiency syndrome with symptoms similar to those of advanced HIV in Thailand and Taiwan.
An AIDS-like disease which attacks the immune system has swept Asia and parts of the U.S. in a bizarre pattern, bewildering doctors and researchers.
SPOILER: This has nothing to do with HIV/AIDS. Nothing. But I cant blame this fiasco on pop-media– the article authors made a technically accurate, but nonetheless stupid, comment in their abstract.
Neutralizing anti–interferon-γ autoantibodies were detected in 88% of Asian adults with multiple opportunistic infections and were associated with an adult-onset immunodeficiency akin to that of advanced HIV infection.
Interferon-gamma is a chemical messenger that plays A Big Role in the functioning of your immune system. Your immune system has lots of redundancy, so it can take a hit or two, here and there, and you will still be okay. But interferon-gamma acts in your innate immune branch, and adaptive immune branch. You need it to fight bacteria. And viruses. And cancer. From Wikipedia:
- Promotes NK cell activity
- Increase antigen presentation and lysosome activity of macrophages.
- Activate inducible Nitric Oxide Synthase iNOS
- Induces the production of IgG2a and IgG3 from activated plasma B cells
- Promotes Th1 differentiation by upregulating the transcription factor T-bet, ultimately leading to cellular immunity: cytotoxic CD8+ T-cells and macrophage activity – while suppressing Th2 differentiation which would cause a humoral (antibody) response
- Cause normal cells to increase expression of class I MHC molecules as well as class II MHC on antigen presenting cells—specifically through induction of antigen processing genes, including subunits of the immunoproteasome (MECL1, LMP2, LMP7), as well as TAP and ERAAP in addition possibly to the direct upregulation of MHC heavy chains and B2-microglobulin itself
- Promotes adhesion and binding required for leukocyte migration
- Induces the expression of intrinsic defense factors—for example with respect to retroviruses, relevant genes include TRIM5alpha, APOBEC, and Tetherin, representing directly antiviral effects.
If youre interferon-gamma is non-functional for some reason, you are in a lot of trouble.
That is what happened to these folks.
For some reason, they have antibodies that neutralize their Interferon-gamma, kinda like how a tetanus vaccine gets you to make antibodies that neutralize the tetanus toxin.
Whatever these people have, its an autoimmune disease that is leading to defects in the function of these patients immune system.
Its not AIDS.
And this story is interesting in and of itself– it doesnt need alarmism, getting people scared, to get attention.
* Intelligently designed immune systems are perfect YAAAAAAY!