An HIV Mystery, the Search for E.T., and a Bug Bite Itch Zapper
Three years ago, an infant known as the “Mississippi Baby” raised hopes of a cure for children born with HIV. After a period of intensive treatment, followed by two years with no medication, the baby seemed to have kicked her infection—until the virus re-emerged a year ago. But this week, researchers at the 2015 International AIDS Society Conference learned of a new case: that of a French teen whose HIV has been in remission for 12 years with no drugs. BuzzFeed News science editor Virginia Hughes joins Ira in the studio to talk about the medical community’s response, along with other stories from the week in science.
Plus, is anybody out there? That’s what Russian billionaire Yuri Milner wants to know. On July 20—the anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing—he announced the launch of the Breakthrough Listen initiative. With Milner’s investment of $100 million dollars over 10 years, the project will use telescopes in West Virginia and Australia to search for intelligent extraterrestrial life. Though this initiative is focused on finding alien messages rather than transmitting messages, researchers still debate what communication to send, if any, should we make contact with extraterrestrials. Seth Shostak, the senior astronomer and director of the Center for SETI Research (which is not the group that received funding from Milner), explains what we have to gain and lose from sending out targeted messages to potential alien life.
Virginia Hughes is science editor at BuzzFeed News in New York, New York.