Research done in part at the University of Iowa finds AIDS patients who are also infected with an obscure and apparently harmless virus called G-B-V-C live significantly longer than patients who aren’t infected. Dr. Jack Stapleton, a U-of-I internal medicine professor and director of the Center for Viral Pathogenesis, says G-B-V-C is similar to hepatitis. Dr. Stapleton says the virus is quite common and was discovered in 1995. It’s a close genetic relative to hepatitis-C, but it does -not- cause hepatitis. Many people around the world carry the virus, which appears to have little effect on anyone — other than AIDS patients. Stapleton says AIDS patients who don’t carry G-B-V-C may soon be injected with it intentionally to prolong their lives.He says that’s already being done every day through transfusions as about two-percent of everyone who gives blood is also passing along the G-B-V-C virus. Stapleton says the virus clearly helps people who are HIV-positive to live longer. He says “You’re almost three times more likely to die if you don’t have this virus five years after you’re infected with H-I-V, compared to if you do have this virus and you’re H-I-V (positive).” The findings are being published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
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