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Editorial Roundup: Excerpts from recent editorials

Wednesday - 11/6/2013, 1:58pm  ET

The Associated Press

Excerpts from recent editorials in newspapers in the United States and abroad:

Nov. 4

The Post and Courier, Charleston, S.C., on major advance against AIDS:

Scientists from Cornell and Scripps Research Institute have announced a breakthrough in understanding the mechanism HIV uses to infect humans, opening the door to creating an effective AIDS vaccine. It is hard to underestimate the significance of their feat.

AIDS is the most deadly global disease of our time, having killed well over 30 million people around the world since it was first identified in 1981. Another 35 million carry the disease, which also has inflicted an immense economic toll.

AIDS is spread through mother's breast milk, sexual intercourse, contaminated needles and other ways.

Although the death count from AIDS and the new infection rate have declined dramatically in the past eight years, thanks to the widespread availability of anti-AIDS drugs and public health education, there is no way to prevent its spread through human contact. Roughly 2.5 million new cases are reported each year.

More than 20 years of intense research into a vaccine that could inoculate humans against HIV and so prevent AIDS have failed to come up with an answer. This failure has happened in large part because the virus has evolved a complex and elusive protein envelope that allows it to enter cells. Once the HIV virus gets past the cell's immune system, its outer envelope, in effect, falls apart, frustrating laboratory efforts to study its structure.

Two papers in the Nov. 1 issue of Science magazine, published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, explain how researchers from Scripps in La Jolla, Calif., and Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City, were able to stabilize the HIV envelope protein and subject it to study by different methods that have produced strikingly similar results.

Two studies using cryo-electron microscopy and one using X-ray crystallography produced high-resolution pictures of the molecular structure of the virus's outer envelope.

These studies have allowed researchers at Scripps and Weill Corner to begin identifying sites that could be attacked by a vaccine that would prevent the HIV entry mechanism from functioning. ...

The prospects for success against AIDS have never looked better.



Nov. 4

Paris Post-Intelligencer on global warming:

Name some of the world's major problems: Poverty, disease, starvation, war. All of them are likely to be made worse by man-made climate change.

That sober scenario is painted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. It plans to issue a report next March on how global warming already affects how we live and what is likely to happen in the future. A leaked copy of a draft of the report appeared Friday on a climate skeptic's website, The Associated Press reports.

The report says the most vulnerable people are the poor and residents of cities, where most of the world's people now live. ...

The report concludes that scientists have high confidence in the predictions. ...

Global warming isn't the only cause of these ills, the report points out, not even the leading cause. It uses the word "exacerbate" a lot to describe the effects of warming.

The report details risks on each continent and suggests ways that countries can adapt. In North America, for instance, the highest long-term risks are wildfires, heat waves and flooding.

It's not just gloom and doom, the report's director said, because it suggests what countries can do to avert some of the damage.

"I see the difference between a world in which we don't do anything and a world in which we try hard to get our arms around the problem."



Nov. 4

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on a middle course is sought for the Middle East:

Secretary of State John F. Kerry's stop in Egypt Sunday underscored that developments there continue to put America between a rock and a hard place.

The Arab Spring of 2010 toppled President Hosni Mubarak and seemed to signal a new day for democracy in that nation of 81 million, an important ally of the United States in the Middle East. The election of Mohamed Morsi as president in 2012 presented difficulties for relations.

The elections were democratic, a plus, but Morsi was the candidate of the long-suppressed, Islamist, Muslim Brotherhood. Some Egyptians, including the long-ruling military, whom he began seeking to bring under civilian authority, soon grew disaffected with what some considered an excessively Islamic trend in the policies of the new president.

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