Tag Archives: antibodies

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.

Clean serene blood-streams – anti-drug antibodies patented

MDMA-molecular-diagram New Scientist reports that a group of addiction researchers have filed a patent on a method for producing antibodies that can clean the bloodstream of “designer drugs” from the amphetamine family.

It’s not yet been tested in humans, of course, but the implication is that injections of these antibodies could eradicate the chemicals in question from a patients body, which would doubtless be of great assistance in withdrawal programs. [image from erowid.org]

But as we all know, the street finds its own use for things. Once stuff like this hits the black market, I think there’ll be a lot less people worrying about mandatory drug testing in the workplace.