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HIV: from pathogen to ally

Clare S Ryan12 December 2011

The HIV virus is one of the world’s most deadly killers. We are now 30 years into a global pandemic and the estimated number of deaths from AIDS worldwide is around 24 million, with a further 33 million currently living with HIV.

But that’s not the whole story. To commemorate World AIDS Day, Professor Mary CollinsLunch Hour Lecture presented a radical idea: using the HIV virus as a new medicine.

Although the thought of injecting HIV doesn’t immediately sound like an appealing prospect, there are quite a few convincing arguments as to why it’s a good idea, and of course, virologists go in for a bit of genetic jiggery-pokery before coming at you with a needle.
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Transgenic animals help us ‘understand disease’

Frances-Catherine Quevenco10 June 2011

Fluorescent fish, goats’ milk producing silk and mice with bat-like limbs are just some of the peculiar outcomes of genetically engineered animals. “Who in the audience finds tinkering with the animal genome a little disconcerting?” asked Mark Lythgoe. A few hands shot up…and why shouldn’t they? What do transgenic animals offer apart from quirky phenotypes?

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