Patients with the virus that causes AIDS may actually be helped by another virus. University of Iowa medical-school professor Doctor Jack Stapleton works with Hepatitis “G” but says it’s somewhat misnamed.There are five known kinds, and this one dubbed Hepatitis G doesn’t make people sick and also doesn’t make them worse if they already have hepatitis. The conclusion had started to show up in small studies, and Stapleton says his lab took it farther.If you’re infected with H-I-V and also Hepatitis G your risk of dying is less than if you only have HIV. Dr Stapleton says this microbe has been a partner of people since prehistoric times. Genetic signs point to this virus evolving about the same time humans appeared, and coming along as we spread around the world. The U of I Research Foundation will team with a bio-pharmaceutical company called Genelabs to find out what kind of virus infects people and makes them better.He says we don’t understand how it slows down HIV growth though there are clues. Stapleton says there are ways we could put the Hepatitis G virus to work. It could be given to an HIV patient to help them, and also to carry things into the body for gene therapy. In addition to teaching internal medicine at the U of I, Stapleton is a staff physician and researcher at the V-A Medical Center in Iowa City.
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