Friday, August 12, 2011

Question of the Day: Anti-HIV Antibody Edition

CN3D 4.3. Click to enlarge.
Jmol. Click to enlarge.
The first is modeled by the researchers, using the CN3 program. There's more colors available and the graphics look better. The one on the bottom is the same anti-HIV antibody in the Jmol program that I meddled with a little bit (ID: 3RPI).

This antibody mimics CD4 binding, locking onto to the spikes of HIV-1 so HIV-1 can't bind to (CD4) white blood cells. By characterizing its unique structure, researchers can design many novel antibodies that could efficiently inhibit the virus' entry into host white blood cells. 

 Random ethical hypothetical question here: You are granted the ability to cure HIV and AIDS and save millions of lives, but in order to use this ability, you must kill an innocent girl. You must choose between curing HIV and killing someone. What would you do? Explain your reasoning. I'll post my answer tomorrow.

40 scientific replies:

To Tipota said...

Where did that question come from? Everyone's life is equal. I'm glad they are finally making their ways into curing AIDS. Another great post by you as always.

Diego Sousa said...

People that usually get Aids are gay, whores and drug users, the life of a innocent girl worth much more

Gareth Thomas said...

This blog always keeps me entertained at work. Thanks!

Natural One said...

I couldnt do it.

Bob said...

Nice.. gives me eyegasm.

Dude T.A said...

difficult. kill one to save millions? id rather not kill anyone, but equally id rather not let millions die...

ThingsYouWant said...

Save the many for the few... Always.

Mekkor said...

Its like in a war where you send your solders. Thousands of solders get killed to save millions of civilians.
The same applies here:
You kill one to save the many. Harsh but necessary.

convictus said...

Depends on probability of success. 100% guarantee, or the little girl comes back to live is what we are looking for here.

marrujoa said...

I don't know if I can answer that question, but it does depend on probabilities for me. Considering the people who got HIV from mosquitoes, I have a hard time choosing who should live and shouldn't.

Sub-Radar-Mike said...

Killing a little girl? Well, honestly I'd have to know what curing diseases do to overpopulation. If the planet gets overpopulated and everyone dies, then it doesn't really make sense to try and save everyone... but i guess people would consider me cold for saying that.

nowaysj said...

Hardly. Human population is in excess by at least a factor of 10. Many people are going to have to die if the replacement rate isn't profoundly adjusted. War, famine, and disease are going to have to play a part until we can figure out how to make everyone rich enough that couples can be fulfilled with one or two children.

I'd definitely kill the little girl, though, if I was trying to save lives. Honestly, it is so obvious, I don't know if argument is warranted.

Charles Godfrey said...

I understand what's at stake, but I couldn't personally kill anybody on purpose.

GMSoccerPicks said...

Looks like pasta. Made me hungry hahaha

Kid Shuffle said...

Do you have to kill the girl? Could I kill myself instead? If so, I'd do that in a second. If not, well then I might try to explain that she needs to go the Jesus route, and pass on for the greater good. I'd leave it up to her though.

Internet Catch Of The Day said...

Sacrifice one to save millions? I think I would have to grit my teeth and kill the girl, save millions, then kill myself

Sketchar said...

The need of the many out weigh the need of the few right? Though this is quite interesting, hopefully it will actually be implemented.

Neon said...

I couldnt do it I think, although it would be a logical thing to do. Mike has a good point there, though :/

Haunter said...

Why does it have to be an innocent girl? Why not use a person who is on death row? I'd go that route if possible.

That Bastard From Bellingham said...

Kill her.

It's in my blood, my training and my capability to do so in a manner that she won't feel much pain and death will be quick. If this is the only way to save millions of lives, to eradicate a deadly disease that haunts all of humanity then it is my duty to perform this job to the best of my ability.

I would want to know the girl though, and ensure that she be honored afterwards for her sacrifice - and yes, this WOULD be a sacrifice.

Would I give my own life to save millions? Same thing, only vice versa - I would want it done quickly and without pain. I would want my words, my stories to be remembered by those I saved and I would demand of them to make themselves worthy of my sacrificed life by making their own honorable, decent and true. To defend others as I would have, and to defend themselves as I would've.

Sure something new would probably pop up to replace HIV after its' eradication, but in the meantime there should be peace for a little bit.

Bersercules said...

I'd as the girl if I could kill her to save millions.

Shaw said...

One innocent girl to save millions? Is she hot?

H. said...

The girl.

The Sorrow said...

The girl for sure

mentats4me said...

idk if i would do it. Only if she is willing

M Fawful said...

I definitely wouldn't kill the girl. Utilitarians believe we should sacrifice individuals for what is good for the group, but I'm not intuitively a utilitarian.

It's a case of a "trolley problem".

Jay Smith said...

It's not like the girl would die in vain. She would be a martyr for giving her life for millions of lives to be saved.

Ghevrix said...

@Diego Sousa: And where exactly does this fun fact come from? AIDS is a disease that affects millions of people regardless of gender or lifestyle. What about the people who are infected from rape cases? Or simply unwittingly from others who never even tell them? what about the women who want to be mothers who lose that option when they become infected with HIV, and wouldn't want to give it to their partner or even more importantly, their baby?

I would kill the girl. If there was no other option I would do it. There are other natural factors that control population that are far faster acting and cause much less suffering in the long term than someone slowly having their body give out around them while living the remainder of their lives alone for fear of enacting the same fate on anybody they're with.

Like Jay Smith said, the girl would be an international hero. Probably get her own holiday too.

Sam said...

I know the right choice is to kill the little girl. I'm just not sure I could do it.

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