The Complex Nature of HIV


Dr Mupoti Sikabongo Since 1983, the year of its proper identity, HIV is still the most vicious virus which continues to threaten the future survival of mankind. Despite the fact that many of our people are now living with this deadly virus, there is very little understanding, if any, about its nature of operation. In view of this concern, it is indeed the purpose of this article to promote public awareness on the complex nature of the virus commonly known as the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). HIV is the main cause of the prominent killer disease of this century known globally as the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). From the look of things, AIDS is only an intervening cause of human death. Principally, actual culpability lies much with HIV as the main source of human death. Generally, HIV can be considered to be one of the viruses that are too easy to get rid of. The only problem now is that this particular virus is located in the human body. If it was located in the bodies of some farm animals, all we could do is to isolate those animals and then conduct a mass kill of the infected animals. This would be concluded by combusting their carcases. Within a month we could be free from HIV. But this approach is both legally and morally not applicable to humans. It appears hear that humans are biased and selfish. We consistently continue to think that we are the most important creatures on earth. If we were not biased, we would have long found alternative medicines which could have helped us to refrain from committing the mass murder of innocent animals suffering from foot-and-mouth disease. But in order to search for the solution to AIDS, we need to first try to understand the complex nature of HIV. On many occasions, some micro-biologists have initially made serious mistakes to assume that HIV and Escherichia coli are related viruses. Yes, the two are enemies of the human body. However, Escherichia coli is not even a virus at all. It is by all means a dangerous bacterium often common in drinking-water. A virus and a bacterium are as different as day and night. It is not possible to confuse them because a bacterium is generally bigger than a virus. Laboratory observations have shown that Escherichia coli has a technical tendency of pretending to be dead when injured but can within few hours grow to full capacity and begin to attack the human body. Maybe this is one of the reasons why some observers made the wrong assumption to equate its character with that of a virus. But even so, we know that HIV is not a living organism while Escherichia coli is purely a living organism with the potential to sexually or asexually (mitosis) reproduce itself. This means that a bacterium can pursue its own life but a virus like HIV cannot and depends on other living organisms to survive. Like a dead tree which exists without life, so is the nature of HIV. But how can something which is not alive cause AIDS? In response to this question, one can say that although HIV is in principle considered to be typically dead, it remains a hazardous pollutant with all potentials to pollute your body towards destruction. So, from now on we need not refer to HIV as a worm. A worm is a bacterium and has oxygen within itself. It is better to consider HIV as a ghost because a ghost is actually a dead spirit which attempts to interfere with the living spirit. This suggests that HIV can also attack and destroy bacteria. For Christians, it is important to consider that there will be no HIV in Heaven. But there will be more bacteria than humans in Heaven. This is logically correct because over 95 percent of the bacteria species are good for the human body. Some bacteria are so economically important that they can be grown in the laboratory, owned and later sold for big money. However, the Escherichia coli may be destined to Hell mainly because of the murder cases that it has committed through drinking-water pollution. At least, many of us are by now aware that HIV is an active pollutant of the human body. But the most important thing to understand is the behavioural character of HIV at the time of contact with the human body. So far, we at least know that the main transmission mechanism for HIV is blood, semen, breast milk and other fluidal media. It is appropriate to record that when God created the human body He also established a hospital inside this body. In addition, He also created a special group of medical doctors to work in this hospital. These medical experts are officially known as the lymphocytes (white blood cells) or CD4 cells. As their name indicates, they are created and stored in the lymph nodes. Lymph nodes have a bean-like shape and are strategically deployed in different sectors of your entire body. There is no human medical doctor who is better trained than these lymphocyte doctors. The manner in which they handle the traffic of many complications around the body is just unbelievable. There are about 2 trillion lymphocyte cells in the human body. If the number drops to a certain level one may begin to be concerned. The main purpose of these lymphocytes is to destroy viruses like HIV, diseases and other unwanted bacteria. Unfortunately, HIV has turned out to be the destroyer of these lymphocyte doctors. In order to destroy the CD4 cells, HIV pretends to be receptive to the CD4 receptors. But once accepted into the CD4 cells, HIV then infects these cells by passing its genetic codes of communication into the CD4 cells. It does this by using a perpetuator (enzyme) called reverse transcriptase. Reverse transcriptase means that HIV has corrupted the natural CD4 cell template by reversing the transcription formula. Normally, the CD4 cells produce ribosenucleic acid (RNA) from deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). But related to reverse osmosis, the robust interventions of HIV, through the reverse transcriptase facilitator, often tend to force the CD4 cells to produce DNA from RNA. For me, the change in sequence from viral-RNA to viral-DNA is the main problem why HIV continues to be so stubborn against the CD4 cells. By changing the sequence, HIV has not only caused injury to the DNA of CD4 cells, but it has also altered the general cellular configuration, thereby corrupting the memory infrastructure of these cells. As a result of this corruption, the CD4 cells are noted to have become so confused that they are no longer able to detect with accuracy any anomalies that cause afflictions in some sectors of the human body. In the process, HIV utilizes this opportunity to destroy more CD4 cells wherever it comes into contact with them. Once a great number of lymphocytes is destroyed, the human body enters a state of being defenceless and is left out to be killed by any opportunistic disease available. This state of being defenceless is what is commonly known as AIDS. In fact, we need to know that HIV is not the only destroyer of the lymphocytes cells (CD4 cells) in the human body. There is also a natural process through which many lymphocytes become obsolete. Indeed, aging is another important factor that needs to be examined when monitoring the lifecycle of the CD4 cells. Moreover, and particularly during the process of cleaning the body, infected CD4 cells happen to be destroyed by the cytotoxic cells called CD8. It is not clear whether these CD8 cells do really possess the capacity to destroy CD4 cells that are infected by HIV coding. Normally, each infected cell that is destroyed by the CD8 cells is automatically replaced by a new one. Even during HIV attacks, more new lymphocytes are manufactured to replace the dead ones. But the rate at which HIV destroys the helper cells (CD4 cells) usually reaches a stage where compensation by new ones becomes deficient. Moreover, HIV is in many cases helped by other anti-lymphocytic enemies of the body to achieve its objective. Even in the absence of HIV, the CD4 cells are already entrusted with a huge task to de-pollute the entire body from toxic waste that is generated by the vascular system of the body. That means any other external infection entering the human body is actually an additional burden to the prescribed function of the CD4 cells. If these cells are few, then the load of work becomes even too much to shoulder. There is another critical problem affecting the survival of the lymphocyte cells. Recent research has revealed that although earlier treatment of HIV with the retroviral therapy induced the normality of the CD4 cells, observations in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract suggests that the population of the CD4 cells in the mucous lining of the GI usually never recovers. Blood samples drawn from the GI revealed also that the concentration of the HIV in the mucous of the GI is much higher than anywhere else in the body. This suggests that even if a patient happens to acquire an improved state of the peripheral CD4 cells during treatment, there is a possibility for the virus to bounce back once the person is in his/her old age. For this reason, future research needs to focus on an attempt to clear the HIV backlog in the GI sector. In order to make the life of HIV difficult, research must be directed towards total deactivation of the reverse transcriptase enzyme. The logic of the process suggests that if the reverse transcriptase enzyme is deactivated then the ability of HIV to produce its own mimicked DNA from its RNA is likely to be terminated. Without its own DNA, HIV is unable to transcribe its genetic code into the DNA of the unpolluted CD4 cells. That means good news because HIV won’t even manage to make several copies of itself. It is also important to note that the reverse transcriptase enzyme is not always accurate when reading the RNA. In many cases, it makes serious software blunders which give birth to different types of viral molecules throughout the infection process. This became one of the problems in finding a reliable antibiotic for numerous sub-species of the same virus. That is why I continue to emphasise that if we can manage to efficiently suspend the activities of the perpetuator enzyme, all the activities of HIV will be totally dormant. Meanwhile, it is encouraging to acknowledge that the current retroviral therapy focuses on disabling the activities of the enzyme. Although not as efficient as I wanted it to be, retroviral therapy can be distinctively successful if HIV is detected earlier. This is good news to the HIV patients. In addition, poor urban air quality concentrated by particulate matter of about 2.5 micrometer in diameter, is a serious lung and heart problem which supplements the success of the HIV virus. We therefore need to sample and improve the quality of our air. Moreover, a wide range of journal results that I have surveyed suggest that if an HIV patient obeys all the instructions of the doctors, he can live even longer than a person who is not HIV-positive. Overall, the nature of HIV is too complex to convey. What I have just tried to do is to assemble the bones. Your task is to add the flesh. – Dr Mupoti Sikabongo is Head of Impact Assessments and Pollution Control in the Ministry of Environment and Tourism