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#61 of 176 Old 09-08-2006, 09:56 AM
 
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[QUOTE=dymanic] The reason is that a pandemic is caused by a virus nobody has had before, and hence which nobody has any pre-existing immunity to. Do the math using the attack rate (percent of population infected) and CFR (percentage of infected who died) from 1918, but using population numbers from today. Then consider that the CFR for H5N1 currently stands at over 50%. Be glad that the attack rate is still effectively zero, and keep hoping that doesn't change anytime soon.[QUOTE]

This is not true. Pandemics are rare, so there really is not a lot of evidence to go by here, but major epidemics in general are not "new". Look at the plagues hitting Europe centuries ago: They had been around several times and since who knows when.

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#62 of 176 Old 09-08-2006, 10:00 AM
 
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A little OT- but I just read Wickett's Remedy, which is a novel about the Flu pandemic and some of the unethical medical experiments that went on. It was a great book. I believe it's by the same woman who wrote the mermaid chair... Sue Monk Kidd?
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#63 of 176 Old 09-08-2006, 11:21 AM
 
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Originally Posted by dnw826
Compromised immune systems are at the root of most disease related deaths as I have seen in my work in the hospital and from studies I have read.
That's quite true, during seasonal flu epidemics. The age distribution curve of fatalities is high on both ends (the very young and the very old) and low in the middle (where most of the fatalities occur in those compromised either immunologically or in some other way). The famous "U" shaped curve. If the "cytokine storm" theory is correct, the "W" shaped curve reflects not compromised immune systems among young healthy adults, but exactly the opposite: the deaths were a direct result of an overly robust immune response.

Most healthy people shake the virus off, though it may make them pretty uncomfortable for a week or so. That's precisely why so many folks are inclined to underestimate the whollop a pandemic strain of influenza can pack. With a pandemic strain, we're talking about a novel virus. Just as the effectiveness of a vaccine depends on how closely the antibodies match the currently circulating strains, aquired immunity depends on whether the body's library of previously aquired antibodies includes any which are decent matches. Whereas the case fatality rate is typically higher among the elderly, the attack rate is lower; this reflects the more extensive immunological history you'd expect to see in folks who had simply been around longer. Variation in severity among flu sufferers also reflects variation in degrees of effectiveness in aquired immunity; the antibodies you developed last time you had the flu may not completely prevent you from getting this year's bug, but they may help you shake it off quicker.

With a novel virus, that's all out the window. NOBODY has previous experience with ANY virus of even the same subtype, so EVERYBODY has effectively the same degree of pre-existing immunity: ZERO.

That doesn't necessarily mean that everyone is equally at risk of contracting the illness. In addition to aquired immunity, genetic predisposition almost certainly plays a role. Influenza targets certain cells in the upper respiratory tract (for example) and while those cells tend to be pretty much the same from one individual to another, they aren't exactly the same in every individual.
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#64 of 176 Old 09-08-2006, 11:50 AM
 
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Originally Posted by dymanic
the antibodies you developed last time you had the flu may not completely prevent you from getting this year's bug, but they may help you shake it off quicker.
Unfortunately antibodies don't work that way. They either bind to a neutralizing epitope on the virus, preventing infection, or they don't. If the antibodies in your system can't prevent viral infection then the immune system creates a response that is entirely independent of the antibodies that failed to neutralize the virus.

The antibodies you developed last time you had the flu will either prevent the flu or not prevent the flu. If you do get the flu, those specific antibodies that failed to neutralize the virus will have no effect on resolution of the infection.
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#65 of 176 Old 09-08-2006, 12:19 PM
 
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Originally Posted by sohj
Just adding some anecdotal stuff: http://www.mothering.com/discussions...her#post828653

A little story about my grandfather and that deadly 1918 influenza. He ended up being part of the US Expeditionary Force to Siberia during the Russian Revolution.
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I do know that he said that their ships doctor had everyone who got it drinking a glass of orange juice made by crushing the whole orange into a paste (peel included) and one raw egg every few hours. And, apparently, they had only one death. And, after the outbreak hit, two oranges a day (on top of regular rations) were issued to everyone who hadn't yet gotten it and they were commanded to eat everything, including the chewing the seeds.
My mom took a master gardening class last fall. Her instructor when teaching about citrus said that in oranges the greatest amount of C is in the peel which is rarely eaten. So I find it interesting about that ships Dr was aware of that. We are always told how we should drink OJ for the C but it really doesn't do us any good.
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#66 of 176 Old 09-08-2006, 12:37 PM
 
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Originally Posted by insider
Unfortunately antibodies don't work that way. They either bind to a neutralizing epitope on the virus, preventing infection, or they don't.
Very seldom in biology are things as cut-and-dried as that. Like most things, receptor binding specificities are a gradient. Grind down the teeth on a key, and it will gradually become more difficult to get it to work in the corresponding lock. But far beyond the point at which it will fail nearly every time to open the lock, you may still get it to work if you fiddle around with it. Microbiology is all about probabilities.
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#67 of 176 Old 09-08-2006, 12:48 PM
 
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Originally Posted by dymanic
receptor binding specificities are a gradient.
That is absolutely incorrect. This is very basic stuff we're talking about here, you can and should consult an immunology textbook on the matter. An antibody is either bound to an epitope or it is not. There is no gradient
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#68 of 176 Old 09-08-2006, 01:45 PM
 
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OK.

Do you like: An Overview of the Immune System. © 1997 Steven A Hofmeyr.

"A particular receptor will not be able to bind to all pathogens; the more complementary the structures of the epitope and the lymphocyte receptor, the more likely it is that a bond will occur. "

A lymphocyte has approximately 100 000 receptors on its surface, but because all of these receptors have the same struture (a lymphocyte is monoclonal), a single lymphocyte can only bind to structurally related epitopes. These structurally related epitopes define the similarity subset that the lymphocyte detects. The number of receptors that bind to pathogens will determine the affinity that the lymphocyte has for a given pathogen. If a bond is very likely to occur, then many receptors will bind to pathogen epitopes, resulting in a high affinity for that pathogen; if a bond is unlikely to occur, then few receptors will bind to epitopes, and the lymphocyte will have a low affinity for that pathogen. Lymphocytes can only be activated by a pathogen if the lymphocyte's affinity for the pathogen exceeds a certain affinity threshold. As the affinity threshold increases, the number of epitope types that can activate the lymphcyte decrease, i.e. the similarity subset becomes smaller. Hence binding - or detection - in the immune system is approximate.

Why is binding approximate?
Probably because it is too difficult to evolve receptor structures that are precisely complementary to epitopes that have never been encountered before. If precise binding were required, the chances of a random lymphocyte binding to a random epitope would be vanishingly small. An important consequence of approximate binding is that a single lymphocyte can detect a subset of epitopes, which means that fewer lymphocytes are needed to provide protection against the vast variety of possible pathogens.

http://www.cs.unm.edu/~immsec/html-imm/recognition.html

I actually think you are both right, because although binding exists on a gradient, below a certain threshhold the lymphocytes aren't activated.

BTW I really appeciate a good scholarly discussion on these points. Thanks also to Nora's mom for your well-researched comments.

Third generation WOHM. I work by choice.
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#69 of 176 Old 09-08-2006, 03:14 PM
 
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Originally Posted by maxmama
Yes, the definition of AIDS is different in different countries. No big surprise, since the defining characteristic of AIDS is opportunistic infection, which one would expect to vary from country to country. PCP existed in this country, for example, for decades before it became a defining illness of HIV/AIDS.

One would also expect the infection to present differently given the different subtypes of HIV present. Guess what? They do!

AIDS is a syndrome (says so right there in the name, you know). Syndromes by definition are collections of symptoms, not discrete diseases. If HIV is so benign, then why doesn't it show up in the majority of the non-immunocompromised population? Why do the epidemiologic patterns of HIV/AIDS so closely parallel other sexually-transmitted infection, and hepatitis B, for that matter? Why does HIV kill T4 cells in vitro if it doesn't do so in vivo?
First of all thanks to Mothering.com for allowing freedom of ideas and opinions. This format is a gift, and I personally appreciate those who keep this up and running. Great job!!!

When something has to do something unheard of and then redifinitions are necessary to keep a theory alive, I tend to be a leery. HIV, like the Spanish Flu, is an anomoly. They both have to do things completely out of the ordinary to be able to do what they allegedly do. That's a lot of "do." I could use that for my garden. The exception of course is Africa, where people have been dying for a long time from malnutrition, poor sanitary conditions and "good people" shooting them full of "healthy vaccines." Now those deaths are called AIDS, when before they were called deaths.

PCP did exist before and now a PCP death is called AIDS when before it was a PCP death. Polio is now Guillain-Barre. Names tend to fit an agenda. What is the agenda? Is there any money involved or careers at stake?

Now there are subtypes and the number of "AIDS illnesses" keeps increasing (I think it's up to 30 or something now). If AIDS wipes out the immune system why isn't the flu the cause of more AIDS deaths? Or the common cold? Are they even AIDS defining illnesses?

People can believe whatever they want? I personally do not believe AIDS exists they way we are being told anymore than I believe vaccines are the greatest medical advancement of all time.

Syndromes tend to be catch-alls. It's like a big pot of stew made from leftovers. Just to offer a differing opinion (for those unaware of some of this) a number of researchers do not believe HIV even exists or that if it does it is completely harmless (one argument is that viruses do not hang around for years and then attack, waiting for the right moment. They attack immediately and the body responds to some degree. This again is an HIV anomoly).

Just to pose a question, somewhat rhetorically. If AIDS, which is supposedly all around us now and presented in the news regularly, does not exist the way we are told then how could we possibly know the facts about another very unique virus (or supposed virus) almost 100 years ago? We are told vaccines are the greatest gift of medicine and many now see that differently.

Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation. - Oscar Wilde
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#70 of 176 Old 09-08-2006, 03:17 PM
 
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Originally Posted by insider
This is very basic stuff we're talking about here, you can and should consult an immunology textbook on the matter.
It is possible to address many compex issues in a very basic way, consulting a textbook all the while, and reach a level of understanding which, while technically correct on many points, fails spectacularly in practice. This is the origin of the term "sophomoric", and also explains the contempt the battle-seasoned soldier typically holds for the young academy-trained officer under whose command he is placed. If you want to understand what's going on at almost any level in biology, you have to learn to think less in terms of absolutes and more in terms of probabilistic outcomes. Teeny little bits are jigging around like crazy in there, and banging into each other constantly, and just because they might fit together nice doesn't guarantee that they will actually find each other and bind together, and just because they don't doesn't guarantee that they won't.
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#71 of 176 Old 09-08-2006, 03:19 PM
 
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Ummm... not to be rude but we're not talking about lymphocyte activation. Lymphocytes are cells. The issue was over antibody-antigen interactions. And antibodies have only one specific binding epitope. It is either occupied by the antigen or it isn't. There is no gradient for the binding of an antibody to its antigen. It's all or nothing.

Why don't I simplify this to the case at hand. There is a binding site on the virus that, if occupied by an antibody, will prevent the virus from entering and infecting a host cell. The only antibody-related determinant of whether the virus can infect the host cell is if that particular epitope is occupied. There either is an antibody bound to it or not. There is no in between.
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#72 of 176 Old 09-08-2006, 03:21 PM
 
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Dynamo - antibody binds to antigen based on kinetics, not probability. If you add Na+ to Cl- you'll get salt everytime.
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#73 of 176 Old 09-08-2006, 03:24 PM
 
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Originally Posted by maxmama
Yes, the definition of AIDS is different in different countries. No big surprise, since the defining characteristic of AIDS is opportunistic infection, which one would expect to vary from country to country. PCP existed in this country, for example, for decades before it became a defining illness of HIV/AIDS.

One would also expect the infection to present differently given the different subtypes of HIV present. Guess what? They do!

AIDS is a syndrome (says so right there in the name, you know). Syndromes by definition are collections of symptoms, not discrete diseases. If HIV is so benign, then why doesn't it show up in the majority of the non-immunocompromised population? Why do the epidemiologic patterns of HIV/AIDS so closely parallel other sexually-transmitted infection, and hepatitis B, for that matter? Why does HIV kill T4 cells in vitro if it doesn't do so in vivo?
First of all thanks to Mothering.com for allowing freedom of ideas and opinions. This format is a gift, and I personally appreciate those who keep this up and running. Great job!!!

When something has to do something unheard of and then redifinitions are necessary to keep a theory alive, I tend to be a leery. HIV, like the Spanish Flu, is an anomoly. They both have to do things completely out of the ordinary to be able to do what they allegedly do. That's a lot of "do." I could use that for my garden. The exception of course is Africa, where people have been dying for a long time from malnutrition, poor sanitary conditions and "good people" shooting them full of "healthy vaccines." Now those deaths are called AIDS, when before they were called deaths.

PCP did exist before and now a PCP death is called AIDS when before it was a PCP death. Polio is now Guillain-Barre. Names tend to fit an agenda. What is the agenda? Is there any money involved or careers at stake?

Now there are subtypes and the number of "AIDS illnesses" keeps increasing (I think it's up to 30 or something now). If AIDS wipes out the immune system why isn't the flu the cause of more AIDS deaths? Or the common cold? Are they even AIDS defining illnesses?

People can believe whatever they want? I personally do not believe AIDS exists they way we are being told anymore than I believe vaccines are the greatest medical advancement of all time.

Syndromes tend to be catch-alls. It's like a big pot of stew made from leftovers. Just to offer a differing opinion (for those unaware of some of this) a number of researchers do not believe HIV even exists or that if it does it is completely harmless (one argument is that viruses do not hang around for years and then attack, waiting for the right moment. They attack immediately and the body responds to some degree. This again is an HIV anomoly).

Just to pose a question, somewhat rhetorically. If AIDS, which is supposedly all around us now and presented in the news regularly, does not exist the way we are told then how could we possibly know the facts about another very unique virus (or supposed virus) almost 100 years ago? We are told vaccines are the greatest gift of medicine and many now see that differently.

Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation. - Oscar Wilde
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#74 of 176 Old 09-08-2006, 03:31 PM
 
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Originally Posted by maxmama
Yes, the definition of AIDS is different in different countries. No big surprise, since the defining characteristic of AIDS is opportunistic infection, which one would expect to vary from country to country. PCP existed in this country, for example, for decades before it became a defining illness of HIV/AIDS.

One would also expect the infection to present differently given the different subtypes of HIV present. Guess what? They do!

AIDS is a syndrome (says so right there in the name, you know). Syndromes by definition are collections of symptoms, not discrete diseases. If HIV is so benign, then why doesn't it show up in the majority of the non-immunocompromised population? Why do the epidemiologic patterns of HIV/AIDS so closely parallel other sexually-transmitted infection, and hepatitis B, for that matter? Why does HIV kill T4 cells in vitro if it doesn't do so in vivo?
First of all thanks to Mothering.com for allowing freedom of ideas and opinions. This format is a gift, and I personally appreciate those who keep this up and running. Great job!!!

When something has to do something unheard of and then redifinitions are necessary to keep a theory alive, I tend to be a leery. HIV, like the Spanish Flu, is an anomoly. They both have to do things completely out of the ordinary to be able to do what they allegedly do. That's a lot of "do." I could use that for my garden. The exception of course is Africa, where people have been dying for a long time from malnutrition, poor sanitary conditions and "good people" shooting them full of "healthy vaccines." Now those deaths are called AIDS, when before they were called deaths.

PCP did exist before and now a PCP death is called AIDS when before it was a PCP death. Polio is now Guillain-Barre. Names tend to fit an agenda. What is the agenda? Is there any money involved or careers at stake?

Now there are subtypes and the number of "AIDS illnesses" keeps increasing (I think it's up to 30 or something now). If AIDS wipes out the immune system why isn't the flu the cause of more AIDS deaths? Or the common cold? Are they even AIDS defining illnesses?

People can believe whatever they want? I personally do not believe AIDS exists they way we are being told anymore than I believe vaccines are the greatest medical advancement of all time.

Syndromes tend to be catch-alls. It's like a big pot of stew made from leftovers. Just to offer a differing opinion (for those unaware of some of this) a number of researchers do not believe HIV even exists or that if it does it is completely harmless (one argument is that viruses do not hang around for years and then attack, waiting for the right moment. They attack immediately and the body responds to some degree. This again is an HIV anomoly).

Just to pose a question, somewhat rhetorically. If AIDS, which is supposedly all around us now and presented in the news regularly, does not exist the way we are told then how could we possibly know the facts about another very unique virus (or supposed virus) almost 100 years ago? We are told vaccines are the greatest gift of medicine and many now see that differently.

Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation. - Oscar Wilde
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#75 of 176 Old 09-08-2006, 03:38 PM
 
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Originally Posted by insider
No, it's not comparable - but it's an interesting exercise so let's do it: The flu was blamed for 20 million civilian deaths (that's one of the low estimates). Since the death rate was 2.5% that means those deaths stemmed from 800 million flu infections. Now for the original quote to be correct (it claimed that seven times more soldiers than civilians got the disease), that would mean 5.6 billion soldiers got the flu - that's more people than were even on the planet at the time.

So the numbers are not comparable. But I'm not saying the quote is wrong (I don't know if it is or isn't), just that you can't look at numbers the way you're suggesting.
Actually, a person CAN look at numbers any way they want to. People can look at anything the way they want to. That's why this forum exists and people, like yourself, keep coming back to it. Are 20,000 civilians dead in Iraq or 250,000? I've heard both numbers. If we can't get those numbers correct or even close and it's happening today, how in the world can we get any numbers correct from 100 years ago? Numbers are very easy to manipulate to create any picture desirable. So I will not give return scenarios because among other things, I am hungry. I wish you well.

Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation. - Oscar Wilde
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#76 of 176 Old 09-08-2006, 03:45 PM
 
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There is no gradient for the binding of an antibody to its antigen. It's all or nothing.
Respectfully, I'll continue to strongly disagree, but going back and forth over it in this thread may quickly cease to be a productive use of our time. If you really want to get down with oligosaccharides and alpha 2, 6 linkages and glycan microarray analysis and whatnot, I may find it hard to resist, but I really do have some other things to do.
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#77 of 176 Old 09-08-2006, 03:49 PM
 
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HIV, like the Spanish Flu, is an anomoly.
By targetting components of the immune system itself, HIV has the fascinating ability to do something no virus has previously shown an ability to do, and I'd say that makes it much more of an anomaly than the Spanish flu, which, by comparison, is just a remake of an old, old plot: the crossing of the human species boundary by a zoonotic pathogen. It's not the only known example of a flu pandemic, and may not even be the most severe in terms of virulence or pathogenicity. Mitochondrial DNA evidence points to a population bottleneck in humans around 74k years ago, when the entire global population was reduced to perhaps some tens of thousands of individuals. Could have been flu. Who knows?

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how could we possibly know the facts about another very unique virus (or supposed virus) almost 100 years ago?
A perfectly reasonable question. It seems to be a matter of what degree of certainty you're comfortable with. Bodies of 1918 victims have been exhumed, and the virus isolated and examined. The results: nothing particularly unique as influenza viruses go. Do we know with absolute certainty that these victims were not anomalies? No. Could be they were the only ones that had this bug, and all the others died from something else. Do we know with absolute certainty that the virus was not a biological weapon whose intended purpose was to thin the human population as a precursor to extraterrestrial invasion? No...

See what I mean? What do we really know for sure?
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#78 of 176 Old 09-08-2006, 04:01 PM
 
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Respectfully, I'll continue to strongly disagree...
I respect your right to be strongly incorrect or even mildly incorrect. Having you here has brightened and entertained my day.
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#79 of 176 Old 09-08-2006, 04:09 PM
 
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I respect your right to be strongly incorrect or even mildly incorrect. Having you here has brightened and entertained my day.
Honestly, stubborn people. (Oh wait, I wrote the book on that, I forgot). Anyway. You're right here, in one sense, but wrong in another (the one that counts, unfortunately):

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The only antibody-related determinant of whether the virus can infect the host cell is if that particular epitope is occupied. There either is an antibody bound to it or not. There is no in between.
There is an in between, because there's bound and then there's bound. At the point where the virus attempts to dock to the cell, yes, the spot is either taken or not -- but whether the spot is taken or not depends on whether the antibody binds strongly. If it doesn't, it'll fall out. It may fall out anyway. There's no such thing as a perfect fit. If the antibody is a good fit, more of the virions will be unable to dock, but not all of them will be able to do so even if it isn't; not all of them will dock even if there's no antibody at all. It's about probabilities, I tell ya.
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#80 of 176 Old 09-08-2006, 04:17 PM
 
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Sorry what you described, in addition to being wrong, is still kinetics.

But let's look at that original quote again:

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Originally Posted by dymanic
the antibodies you developed last time you had the flu may not completely prevent you from getting this year's bug, but they may help you shake it off quicker.
Now see, what bothers me most about this statement is not that it's wrong, but that it's used to justify getting a flu vaccine that has been unequivocally proven ineffective. "Sure the vaccine doesn't prevent infection, but it makes the disease less severe". The interesting thing about this bit of regurgitated medical propaganda is that it's easily testable: if previous flu shortens subsequent flu then there will be an easy to see trend where people who get flu most often, get milder and shorter illnesses. Has anyone looked at this? Yes - and the trend is actually the other way around! People who get flu most often tend to get it the worst. So not only is your idea biologically impossible, it's empirically false.

By the way didn't you mention that you've had flu before... and that if you get it again it will kill you? Well if your theory is true then your next bout of flu won't be nearly as bad as your last. Sleep easy my friend.
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#81 of 176 Old 09-08-2006, 04:40 PM
 
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Sorry what you described, in addition to being wrong, is still kinetics.
Yes, it's kinetics. That's why I like to use fancy technical terms like "jigging" and "banging", and "falling out". Why is it wrong again?

Quote:
By the way didn't you mention that you've had flu before... and that if you get it again it will kill you? Well if your theory is true then your next bout of flu won't be nearly as bad as your last.
If my theory is true, there is some chance that I will have partial immunity to the next flu virus that comes along. If I'm lucky, that'll at least be a subtype my immune system has encountered before, so in coming up with an antibody, at least it won't have to start from scratch. There is of course the possibility that during the intervening years since my last flu, I've been exposed to strains so similar to that one that my adaptive response kicked in so fast I never even noticed any symptoms beyond maybe just a mild cough or sore throat. But Influenza Bioresearch Inc has been hard at work on a new and improved model that will circumvent my defenses, and it's been quite a while since I've seen it before (I think), so it may have changed a lot.

Plus, my next bout of flu could be a lot milder than my last and still knock me dead as a stone. (I do appreciate you trying to cheer me up, tho). And anyway, I shoulda said it'll probably kill me. Who knows? Might be a UPS truck out there with my name on it. Carpe Diem.
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#82 of 176 Old 09-08-2006, 04:45 PM
 
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Originally Posted by dymanic
There is an in between, because there's bound and then there's bound. At the point where the virus attempts to dock to the cell, yes, the spot is either taken or not -- but whether the spot is taken or not depends on whether the antibody binds strongly. If it doesn't, it'll fall out. It may fall out anyway. There's no such thing as a perfect fit. If the antibody is a good fit, more of the virions will be unable to dock, but not all of them will be able to do so even if it isn't; not all of them will dock even if there's no antibody at all.
I think you may have lost track of what you originally said, and that's that having the flu can shorten duration of subsequent flu disease even when the antibodies fail to prevent the disease. So whether an antibody 'falls out' or Scotty beams it out of there at the last second before viral docking, the virus gets in and replicates itself a billion times over. Now how does the antibody that fell out shorten the duration of the illness about to be caused by those billion new viral particles? Does the antibody fight its way into the cell and take names? And don't tell me it's probability: the antibodies are the same antibodies that just fell out, they have the same probability of being beamed away as they did last time - and now there are a billion more viral particles to fight. I've enjoyed your posts - please explain to me how an antibody can fail to prevent virus infection but subsequently shorten the virus infection.
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#83 of 176 Old 09-08-2006, 04:50 PM
 
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Originally Posted by dymanic
If my theory is true...
Well see that's the thing. You should find out and publish somewhere instead of arguing with me that your theory is fact. Unfortunately there is empirical evidence that your theory is not true and the biological mechanism of how antibodies neutralize virus is not in line with your ideas - so you've got a big hill to climb. But I will be there to shake your hand if you ever find research to back your claims.
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#84 of 176 Old 09-08-2006, 06:09 PM
 
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To the OP:

There have been two pandemics since the 1918 pandemic. One in the late 1950's and one in the late 1960's.

In all three of these cases, there was no vaccine for the strains of influenza (as is the case now with the current scary influenza strain) so my understanding is that being vaxed against the "seasonal flu" will not protect you and your children if we do have a bird flu pandemic.

For me, this just increases my resolve not to vax my kids.

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#85 of 176 Old 09-08-2006, 06:15 PM
 
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Originally Posted by insider
I think you may have lost track of what you originally said, and that's that having the flu can shorten duration of subsequent flu disease even when the antibodies fail to prevent the disease.
No, I haven't lost sight of that. Your insistence on seeing immunity as an all-or-nothing affair is making it difficult to see what I am saying, which is that having the flu can shorten duration of subsequent flu disease even when the antibodies fail to prevent the disease entirely.

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Now how does the antibody that fell out shorten the duration of the illness about to be caused by those billion new viral particles?
It doesn't, obviously. The ones that didn't fall out do, however. A single virion replicating itself a billion times over is still better than a billion virions all replicating themselves a billion times over. Each batch of fresh virions will have to run the same probabilistic gauntlet themselves (and don't forget that this isn't the only probabilistic challenge they'll face; huge percentiles of them will already be mutated beyond viability). The poorly-fitting antibody will not prevent all of them from docking to cells, but it will reduce the number of virions which are able to do so. Viral load will be maintained at lower levels, fewer cells will be infected, and the innate response will do less damage during the time it takes for the system to come up with a better-fitting antibody.

There's really nothing earth-shaking in all this. It's basic virology; nothing for the peer-reviewed journals, I'm afraid. Scarcely even that; it's basic common sense, really.

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the antibodies are the same antibodies that just fell out, they have the same probability of being beamed away as they did last time.
Well, don't forget that the body can produce antibodies faster than the virus can produce virions. If this weren't the case, nobody would ever recover from a virus.
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#86 of 176 Old 09-08-2006, 06:21 PM
 
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Originally Posted by BathrobeGoddess
my understanding is that being vaxed against the "seasonal flu" will not protect you and your children if we do have a bird flu pandemic.
That's quite true. I'm interested to see whether fear of bird flu will drive larger numbers of people to vaccinate for seasonal flu even after they've been told it won't help. They'll nod their heads, and go ahead and do it anyway. People are funny. Personally, I'd like to see them vaxxed, but that's just me. It would be an ugly motive for fearmongoring around bird flu, but I plead not guilty.
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#87 of 176 Old 09-08-2006, 07:17 PM
 
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Originally Posted by dymanic
Each batch of fresh virions will have to run the same probabilistic gauntlet themselves (and don't forget that this isn't the only probabilistic challenge they'll face; huge percentiles of them will already be mutated beyond viability). The poorly-fitting antibody will not prevent all of them from docking to cells, but it will reduce the number of virions which are able to do so. Viral load will be maintained at lower levels, fewer cells will be infected, and the innate response will do less damage during the time it takes for the system to come up with a better-fitting antibody.
This is not how it works at all. There is no probabalistic gauntlet because whichever antibodies did neutralize virus the first time through are now gone - and - the resulting exponential increase in virus dilutes the remaining antibody into insignificance. This stuff is already published in textbooks if you care to look. Your notion about the math here would benefit from considering the concentration of neutralizing antibody (this is what you are calling a gauntlet). If the concentrations of neutralizing antibodies are high enough there will be no infection. If the concentrations are not high enough by even the tiniest fraction then the infection will overwhelm the antibodies in a single replication cycle making whatever antibodies remain inconsequential in number. Sub-neutralizing concentrations have been proven to be ineffective at slowing viral progression, which is why vaccine manufacturers have to prove their vaccines stimulate a certain concentration of antibody to be able to say the vaccine works. There is no partial immunity at sub-neutralizing concentrations of antibodies. In fact when titers get that low they can actually drive an infection. But that topic is way too advanced to discuss at the moment.
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#88 of 176 Old 09-08-2006, 07:17 PM
 
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Originally Posted by dymanic
Well, don't forget that the body can produce antibodies faster than the virus can produce virions. If this weren't the case, nobody would ever recover from a virus.
That's true. But that's true for everyone, including people who have never had flu before. The antibodies that are being produced as a result of the infection are the same antibodies being produced in people regardless of how many times they've had flu - so they don't shorten flu duration compared to anyone else. Don't forget that.

Your statement said that the antibodies that failed to prevent infection nevertheless shortened the infection. Those are the old antibodies, the ones that were there to start with, the ones that people who haven't had the flu don't have. How do those old antibodies that failed to stop the infection, shorten the duration of infection? I'm asking for a biological mechanism - because we already know that empirically it doesn't happen.
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#89 of 176 Old 09-08-2006, 07:31 PM
 
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Originally Posted by dymanic
Your insistence on seeing immunity as an all-or-nothing affair is making it difficult to see what I am saying
I can't let this little strawman of yours go by without comment. I said that antibody-antigen binding is all or nothing. Immunity is a different thing altogether. Please don't insult me by altering my comments into something you can attack. Use the quote function if need be.
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#90 of 176 Old 09-08-2006, 07:42 PM
 
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dymanic , I see that you are trying to present your theory as fact. If you're gonna do that you've got to back it up with proof. Documents , links....I'm just a meek mannered housefrau and I could blow holes in your "facts" easily.

You aren't making any sense.
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