The apotheosis of J D Shapely

Hopeful news from the world of HIV/AIDS research:

… U.S. government scientists have discovered three powerful antibodies, the strongest of which neutralizes 91% of HIV strains, more than any AIDS antibody yet discovered.


The antibodies were discovered in the cells of a 60-year-old African-American gay man, known in the scientific literature as Donor 45, whose body made the antibodies naturally.

As William Gibson put it on Twitter: “They found J.D. Shapely! Off to Colored People for a celebratory backpiece! :-D”

(If you’re not grokking the reference, you should make time to read Gibson’s Virtual Light.)

And here’s a bonus line from the little article there, that puts the incredible amount of work involved in this sort of research into perspective:

Researchers screened 25 million of his cells to find 12 that produced the antibodies.

That is one mad tiny needle in a huge meat haystack, right there.

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