Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Hiv, turns back on patient zero: “The virus in the united States already from the years 70″ – La Repubblica

he died in march of 1984 and in spite of himself, he entered in the history of the epidemic, which at that time scared the world and still today holds alarm of many health systems. the Gaetan Dugas, as a steward of Air Canada, has long been considered the "patient zero" of Hiv in the United States. His story, told in the book-inquiry of Randy Shilts in 1987, "And the band played on: politics, people and the Aids epidemic", is that of a gay and very active sexually, which would have had hundreds of partners. It would have been him the first to become ill in 1981, and his work, which brought him around the world and for the Usa, would have contributed to the spread of the infection in areas distant from each other.

he Was also made a research on the first infected in the Usa and it was noticed that among those who were sick in 1983, some ten had had relations with him or with a person who, in his time he had had. This story had already been questioned in the past by other research, especially because it tended to backdate the arrival of the epidemic, and is now definitely swept away by a new study, published in Nature and co-ordinated by Michael Worebey, of the University of Tucson in Arizona.

After more than 30 years, thanks to a technique of genetic analysis makes clear that there was a patient zero. And, among other things, explains that the myth of that first patient, that has withstood a very long time, could be born from an error of transcription. Dugas, in fact, his time was framed by the doctors as "Patient" or”, in the sense that it came from outside ("outside") of California. The or later it would become a zero, fueling the misunderstanding.

The research, published by Nature, based on the analysis of about 2,000 samples of which are decades old, have traced the entrance of Hiv in the Usa at the beginning of the Seventies. The disease would have made a "jump" from the Caribbean to New York, that would have been the crucial point of the first diversifications of the united states of viruses, that from there it would spread in North America. Reconstruct the history of the epidemic is not only an exercise in descriptive but als o serves to develop strategies to fight against Hiv, based on the analysis of the way in which it spreads in the population. The technique developed by Worebey and his colleagues can be useful for the study of other viruses such as Zika, but also of the pathogenesis of tumors. Thanks to the system of analysis developed, we were able to examine genetic samples of the virus deteriorated. In that way they were able to demonstrate that the virus had undergone mutation in the Set. He had been hit by one of those strains already circulating also Gaetan Dugas, and can then no longer be considered the "patient zero”.

patient zero
Gaetan Dugas
Randy Shilts
Michael Worebey