Δικαιώνεται ο ασθενής που “εισήγαγε το AIDS στις ΗΠΑ”

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«Αθώος»! Αυτή είναι η επίσημη ετυμηγορία της επιστήμης για έναν από τους πιο δαιμονοποιημένους ασθενείς στην ιστορία, τον ομοφυλόφιλο γαλλοκαναδό ιπτάμενο φροντιστή Γκαετά Ντιγκά, γνωστό και ως «Ασθενή Μηδέν», ο οποίος επί δεκαετίες τώρα θεωρείτο αυτός που πρώτος έφερε το AIDS στις ΗΠΑ. Μια νέα διεθνής επιστημονική έρευνα, που δημοσιεύθηκε στο επιθεώρηση «Nature», δείχνει ότι ο Ντιγκά δεν ήταν παρά απλώς ένας από τους χιλιάδες ασθενείς που μολύνθηκαν με τον ιό HIV στη δεκαετία του ΄70.

Το AIDS αναγνωρίσθηκε ως ασθένεια το 1981, όταν ασυνήθιστα συμπτώματα άρχισαν να εμφανίζονται σε ομοφυλόφιλους. Η νέα μελέτη δείχνει ότι η Νέα Υόρκη έπαιξε καταλυτικό ρόλο ως το επίκεντρο για την εξάπλωση της νόσου.

Σύμφωνα με το ΑΜΠΕ ο επικεφαλής της έρευνας καθηγητής Μάικλ Γουορομπέι του Πανεπιστημίου της Αριζόνα δήλωσε ότι, μετά την ανάλυση περίπου 2.000 παλαιών δειγμάτων αποθηκευμένου αίματος (και από ασθενείς με AIDS), ως η πιο πιθανή χρονολογία για την εμφάνιση της ασθένειας στις ΗΠΑ θεωρείται το 1970 ή το 1971, δηλαδή μια δεκαετία προτού η θανατηφόρα νόσος γίνει αντιληπτή.

Η ανάλυση του αίματος του Ντιγκά, που τότε εργαζόταν στην καναδική αεροπορική εταιρεία Air Canada και ο οποίος πέθανε το 1984, ξεκαθάρισε πάντως ότι δεν ήταν αυτός ο «πατέρας» της κατοπινής επιδημίας του AIDS στις ΗΠΑ. Το όνομά του είχε αναφέρει πρώτος ο συγγραφέας Ράντι Σιλτς, που το 1987 έγραψε ένα μπεστ-σέλερ βιβλίο για την κρίση του AIDS.

Η νόσος πιστεύεται ότι ξεκίνησε από την πόλη Κινσάσα του Κονγκό, από εκεί πέρασε στην Καραϊβική και μετά στις ΗΠΑ. Στη Νέα Υόρκη πλέον ο ιός τράβηξε τη διεθνή προσοχή.

«Κανείς δεν θα έπρεπε να θεωρηθεί υπεύθυνος για την εξάπλωση ενός ιού για τον οποίο κανείς δεν ήξερε», δήλωσε ο Γουορομπέι και πρόσθεσε πως «παραμένει ανοιχτό το ζήτημα πώς ο ιός εξαπλώθηκε από την Καραϊβική στις ΗΠΑ».

Όπως είπε, ο Ντιγκά παρεξηγήθηκε επειδή έδειξε μεγάλη προθυμία να βοηθήσει τους επιστήμονες για την κατανόηση του ιού, δίνοντας πληθώρα ονομάτων ανδρών με τους οποίους είχε σεξουαλικές επαφές (κατονόμασε 72 από τους περίπου 750 συντρόφους του σε μια τριετία).

«Τελικά κατέληξε το κεντρικό πρόσωπο στην ιστορία, σχεδόν σίγουρα επειδή ήταν τόσο πρόθυμος να βοηθήσει», είπε ο αμερικανός επιστήμονας. Η περίπτωσή του δείχνει γενικότερα πόσο δύσκολο είναι να εντοπίσει κανείς τον «ασθενή μηδέν» σε οποιαδήποτε επιδημία.

 

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