Is visionary A limited series Statistics show those who are trying to change our lives.
Rabindra Gupta studied drug-resistant HIV for more than a decade when he first encountered Adam Castilezo, known as the “London Patient”, the second person in the world to be cured of HIV by Dr. Gupta, who visited Robi. , Was a professor at University College London in the clinical and academic world when Mr Castilezo presented as both HIV-positive and relapsed lymphoma, after Mr Castilezo failed a previous transplant using healthy stem cells from his own body.
Working with German hematologist Gero Hutter and others who went to cure the first person to be infected with HIV – Timothy Ray Brown, known as the “Berlin Patient” – Dr. Gupta and his colleagues suggested using stem cells from a donor with rare genetics mutations that prevent certain individuals from becoming infected with HIV. Mr Castilezo agreed and had his transplant done in 2016. Seventeen months later, Dr. Gupta and his team removed Mr. Castilezo from antiretroviral drugs that cured his HIV. In 2019, three years after the transplant, Dr. Gupta published the results in Nature, confirming that Mr. Castilezo has recovered from HIV.
The news shook the scientific world and revived the search for a cure. Dr. Gupta was appointed Professor of Clinical Microbiology at Cambridge and established the Gupta Lab on the school’s biomedical campus to continue his research.
A few months later, when the coronavirus epidemic hit – and the nations went into lockdown and the treatment system taxed their breaking point, he found himself attracted to the response.
“Respiratory viruses were not something I would consider. I don’t think we have the skills or abilities that we need, ”said Dr. Gupta recently. But, he added, “The clinical interface of what I do has drawn me to work on SARS. Things got worse here in March and everything stopped. A desperate need was identified as a quick test. “
Soon his team was completely pivoting and publishing the first research to validate rapid and antibody testing for the coronavirus using standardized techniques during HIV research. Over the past two and a half years, Gupta Labs has conducted state-of-the-art research, describing how new variants have emerged and providing some of the first evidence that groundbreaking covid infections were possible in vaccinated individuals.
In his lab at Cambridge, he discusses the significant advances made by scientists over the past three years, as well as the consequences of declining public confidence in scientific knowledge.
This interview has been shortened and edited.
How has previous research on AIDS / HIV affected the coronavirus response?
Advances in HIV have accelerated the response to SARS-CoV-2. Much progress has been made in how we make drugs, targeting viruses, and much of this technology has been honored in HIV.
What is the similarity between these two epidemics?
Both have created a huge panic, more so than SARS-CoV-2 HIV – for good reason, because it’s respiratory. Some people are more risky than others, and socio-economic is of course important. Also, in this age of vaccine availability, the rich versus the poor, the global north versus the global south – are coming through all these inequalities.
Has this global emergency improved your ability to work with your colleagues on a variety of issues?
It’s definitely a lot of interaction that we wouldn’t be doing otherwise. We became interested in immunology, we did some sophisticated work with colleagues downstairs and in different parts of the building. We started using stem cells to make artificial lungs for testing. All of this starts to happen as a result of the emergency. We never had the idea that we would never talk to them. So it has been really scientifically exciting.
Is fatigue responsible for the public’s perverted reaction to Kovid?
Yeah Al that sounds pretty crap to me, Looks like BT aint for me either. I think the intensity has irritated the mental energy. Of course there has been progress in HIV in almost 20 years. This happened very quickly for Kovid. And in the absence of a vaccine and mRNA technology, we would be in a much darker place.
Across society we see a decline in trust in the organization, but in your case there are serious consequences for those who refuse to take the vaccine, for example. What has influenced the way you think scientists and medical institutions need to communicate with the public?
I think there is a general lack of trust between the people and the people who provide information. It is driven in part by various sections of the public who spread misinformation. I think the actual communication was pretty good in the beginning – you got the clear message and I think it was pretty good. The public health message has become more complicated because no one wants to wear a mask.
For example, after vaccination, people thought we would be mask-free. We published a research paper in nature on groundbreaking infections, and the following week the CDC cited our work as the cause of the mask, even with the vaccine. Which sounds normal now, but then it drove people crazy. But it was the right thing to do because after a few months your reactions may diminish, and lots of people with a double-dose vaccine may end up with a second re-infection. So that everyone contributes to the confusion based on lack of education or lack of subtle knowledge. And one of the things we have to deal with now is that communication is an important issue that even scientists can’t fathom. So it is almost impossible for people to expect this to happen. So we’re at a crossroads for how we communicate complex messages.
What are the long-term effects if we cannot persuade a large portion of the population to be vaccinated?
Transmission may be discontinued in places like China, where the population was relatively stupid for vaccines, and vaccines are not necessarily the best. And if people don’t get their boosters on time, we could end up in a time when it becomes another major health problem of the magnitude we’ve already seen. I guess in a few years we could get into trouble again. The worrying thing is that we are shutting down a lot of things that we are prepared to deal with.