Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

This could be huge.

Really. Most of the time, these great new basic science ideas don't work out at all, or aren't what they are cracked up to be. (Remember how Judah Folkman's ideas about angiogenesis were going to cure cancer? Instead, angiogenesis inhibitors have turned out to be of some modest benefit in slowing some cancers in conjunction with regular chemotherapy. No real breakthrough at all, sadly.)

But if this novel approach to antiviral therapy works, then not only will they have cured the common cold (probably long before we send another person to the moon), they will have cured lots, maybe most, maybe just about all viral infections. Don't hold your breath -- it will be many years before we know whether this can really work in humans. But it just might. And this is why the government funds basic research. This work was 100% government funded from the beginning, and the latest work "is funded by grant AI057159 (​spx) from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases."

But you know, that's socialism. So it's evil.


kathy a. said...

go, research!

cervantes, i just ran across this piece in the NY times, about medical decisionmaking:

i thought it was going in the wrong direction at first, wanting to backtrack on patient decisions to doctor-mandated decisions. but i think it ends up with two good points: that patients need info from doctors, and that doctors need to be "in the circle" and "shouldering responsibility with them."

still kind of a mixed message, though. if a patient is dying, and teh choices are comfort care vs. aggressive care that may well be painful, describing the effects of those choices accurately is not "value-laden" in my opinion.

roger said...

i'd take that socialized cure for virus, if i had a virus.

Cervantes said...

They're making similar noises about cancer, as you no doubt know. It will be a while though before anything comes of it, if ever.