You know about the things that we get and forget right? We do that all the time. I bought a dreamcatcher once in a Mexican arts and craft store where I went to shorten my wrist-watch’s metal band. I did not know what a ‘dreamcatcher’ was at that time. According to Wikipedia,
According to Terri J. Andrews, “Only good dreams would be allowed to filter through . . . Bad dreams would stay in the net, disappearing with the light of day.” Good dreams would pass through and slide down the feathers to the sleeper.
The store operator told me…or I understood it so that a dreamcatcher brings your dreams come true…so, I bought one… it was made out of leather, red leather on the outside, yellow on the inside with one long white feather and another short one on top of it. It looked beautiful. I bought it for its aesthetic appeal rather than its associations with dreams.
In any case, I placed it above the computer of my laptop dock on my desk and it probably fell behind the screen and I forgot about it. At that time, I was a recent graduate with shameful grades and struggling finances and therefore a low self-esteem of all times. In those days I used to dream about having my own project, my own publications and going to graduate school…which is where I am today.
Today is my last day at work. As I was cleaning my desk to head out to Africa tomorrow and then to Chicago for my PhD, I found my dreamcatcher behind the computer screen. May be it was there this whole time catching me good dreams and making my dreams come true. I had an option to chug it or take it with me…guess what I did….you guessed it right. Its in the box with “The most valuable things” scribbled on it.
It had been a few months since I had changed the oil in my car and it had surpassed at least a week since the ‘oil’ light had been constantly on. So, I went to get the oil ‘changed’ and it was kinda embarrassing but real funny when the mechanic wrote “you need a new car” on my receipt when he found out that everything in my car needed to be replaced…lol…
Just a thought…
The article above in Popular Science is very interesting to me because I wonder whether reverse phage therapy or bacteria therapy would work in HIV. In phage therapy, viruses that kill bacteria are used to kill infectious drug resistant bacteria. If we could use bacteria instead to invite infectious viruses and then clear the bacteria post infection, we can in turn clear the viruses.
In case of HIV, initially I had thought that we could possibly engineer a bacteria to express receptors such as CCR5 or CXCR4 that would lure HIV to infect them instead of CD4+ T cells. These bacteria would also express receptors that would facilitate the opsonization process (clearing of pathogens by immune cells).
However, there major obstacles in this process. First, the interaction of CD4 with other molecules expressed by our cells can prove to be a major obstacle. Next, the bacteria may generate immune response and may be cleared too soon before it can actually circulate in the body. Third, it may cause immune activation which is not necessarily advantageous to a patient. Fourth, how will these bacteria be administered? Fifth, depending the route of administration, they may not clear HIV from hard to reach areas such as gut and brain. Finally and possibly the most importantly, it will not clear latent infections. One more: there will still be CD4+ cells that will be infected…how are we going to deal with them?
Although these questions persist and not being able to answer any one of these questions may render the whole process uneffective, it is important to think about phages in HIV. Despite the fact that there are thousands of papers on HIV and hundreds on phages, to my knowledge, there is not a single scientific literature that has investigated the possible role of the phages in HIV infection/pathogenesis. Therefore, despite various challenges, investigating the the beneficial use of phages in HIV could lead us to a novel way of tackling the HIV epidemic.