I just saw that little TED of Mr. Gates about malaria and he mentioned that the virus evolves and the carrier, the mosquitos evolve, so we have to be careful with what we try to kill the two with.
That statement reminded me of something. I’m currently working with evolution and one thing I have noticed is that the notions of swarm intelligence and evolution are very similar – Currently I am thinking that evolution really is just a type of swarm intelligence.
The point I want to make is this. If we challenge the swarm that is a species of virus, if we threaten it – it is likely to adapt and change. Nature finds a way to survive so to say. This is why its so difficult to find a permanent cure for any virus.
What if we changed our paradigm and instead of trying to eradicate the virus swarm and thereby challenging (evolution) – we find a way of stopping its evolution, by taking away its necessity to evolve. This could be achieved by giving the virus what it really wants. We would “convince” the virus to focus on something that isn’t vital to us and at the same time is easy to provide by us (we wouldn’t want the virus to starve, which would trigger further evolution)
So, what I’m proposing is this crazy idea: Take a virus like AIDS – it attacks white blood cells (CD4 to be exact). What if we give it something else to re-produce with? The problem is not the virus, but the fact that it kills the blood cells – so instead of trying to kill the virus, and thereby challenging evolution itself, we would trick the virus into stopping to evolve. In this example we would have to create something very similar to white CD4 cells, but with less defenses (as I do assume swarm intelligence is always lazy).
While the person would still carry the virus, it would not have the same detrimental effects it has now and if nothing else, it would buy us time to develop another “cure”.