Gay cures AIDS

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Gay cures AIDS

Postby curtis95112 » Mon Mar 04, 2013 2:01 pm UTC

http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/03 ... t=1&f=1007

Spoiler:
Scientists believe a little girl born with HIV has been cured of the infection.

She's the first child and only the second person in the world known to have been cured since the virus touched off a global pandemic nearly 32 years ago.

Doctors aren't releasing the child's name, but we know she was born in Mississippi and is now 2 1/2 years old — and healthy. Scientists presented details of the case Sunday at a scientific conference in Atlanta.

The case has big implications. While fewer than 130 such children are born each year in the U.S., an estimated 330,000 children around the world get infected with HIV at or around birth every year, most of them in sub-Saharan Africa.

And while many countries are striving to prevent these mother-to-child infections, many thousands of children will certainly get infected in coming years.

Until now, such children have been considered permanently infected. Specialists thought they needed lifelong antiviral drugs to prevent HIV from destroying their immune system and killing them via AIDS.

The Mississippi child's surprising cure came about from happenstance — and the quick thinking of a University of Mississippi pediatric infectious disease specialist, Hannah Gay.

"The child came to our attention as a high-risk exposure to maternal HIV," Gay tells Shots. Her mother hadn't had any prenatal care, she says, so didn't get antiviral drugs during pregnancy.

The fact that the newborn tested positive for HIV within 30 hours of birth is a sign she was probably infected in utero, HIV specialists say.

Gay decided to begin treating the child immediately, with the first dose of antivirals given within 31 hours of birth. That's faster than most infants born with HIV get treated, and specialists think it's one important factor in the child's cure.

In addition, Gay gave higher-than-usual, "therapeutic" doses of three powerful HIV drugs rather than the "prophylactic" doses usually given in these circumstances.

Over the months, the baby thrived, and standard tests could detect no virus in her blood, which is the normal result from antiviral treatment.

Enlarge image
HIV particles, yellow, infect an immune cell, blue.

NIAID_Flickr
Then, her mother stopped bringing the child in for checkups.

"The baby's mom was having some life changes, that's about all I can say," Gay reports. "I saw her at 18 months, and then after that did not see her for several months. And we were unable to locate her for a while."

Gay enlisted the help of Mississippi state health authorities to track down the child. When they found her, the mother said she had stopped giving the child antiviral drugs six or seven months earlier.

At that point, Gay expected to find that the child's blood was teeming with HIV. But to her astonishment, tests couldn't find any virus.

"My first thought was, 'Oh, my goodness, I've been treating a child who's not actually infected,' " Gay says. But a look at the earlier blood work confirmed the child had been infected with HIV at birth. So Gay then thought the lab must have made a mistake with the new blood samples. So she ran those tests again.

"When all those came back negative, I knew something odd was afoot," Gay says. She contacted an old friend, Dr. Katherine Luzuriaga at the University of Massachusetts, who has been studying pediatric HIV/AIDS for two decades.

That was last August. Since then, Luzuriaga's lab and labs in San Diego, Baltimore and Bethesda, Md., have run ultra-sensitive tests on the baby's blood.

A couple of tests have intermittently found pieces of HIV DNA and RNA, but no evidence that the virus is actively replicating in the child's cells.

Luzuriaga tells Shots this amounts to what's called a "functional cure."

She says that "means control of viral replication and lack of rebound once they come off antiretroviral medications."

The only other such case known to AIDS researchers is the so-called Berlin patient — Timothy Brown of San Francisco. But his treatment involved a bone marrow transplant in Germany — essentially, he was given the immune system of a donor who's genetically resistant to HIV. That's not something that can be easily duplicated.

By contrast, the Mississippi child's cure involved readily available medications.

Luzuriaga says researchers believe they have ruled out other possible reasons for the unexpected cure. For instance, the mother did not have a less virulent strain of HIV. And the child does not have known mutations in her immunity genes that confer protection against HIV.

"We think it was that very early and aggressive treatment," she says, "that curtailed the formation of viral reservoirs" — that is, hideouts for the virus within the child's immune cells.

Previous research indicates that once these hideouts are established, it can take 70 years or more of steady, three-drug antiviral treatment to eliminate them.

Luzuriaga says the toddler's cure has electrified researchers searching for an HIV cure.

"It's exciting to us," she says. "Because if we were able to replicate this, I think it would be very good news."

Dr. Deborah Persaud of Johns Hopkins University Medical School, who presented the case at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections, calls the Mississippi cure "definitely a game-changer."

"This case is sort of the inspiration and provides the rationale to really move forward," Persaud tells Shots.

Kevin Robert Frost of the Foundation for AIDS Research, or amfAR, agrees that the finding will stimulate a lot of further work. The group helped fund studies to determine if the Mississippi toddler is really cured.

"If this approach is proven effective, we could dramatically change the way children born with HIV are treated," he tells Shots.

Plans are under way to mount studies to see if early, aggressive treatment can cure other children of HIV. But Persaud says it will be awhile before researchers can figure out when it might be safe to stop antiviral drugs deliberately.

This research will undboubtedly be high-priority, given the birth of nearly 1,000 HIV-infected newborns a day in the developing world.

AIDS researchers foresee a day when the same treatment could give many of these children a lifetime free of toxic and costly antiviral drugs.


Wow. Just amazing.

Edited title because awesome. (Technically, HIV was cured, not AIDS, but awesome)
Last edited by curtis95112 on Tue Mar 05, 2013 4:25 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Child with HIV cured

Postby Sizik » Mon Mar 04, 2013 6:28 pm UTC

Better headline:
Gay cures AIDS
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Re: Child with HIV cured

Postby Dark Avorian » Mon Mar 04, 2013 8:18 pm UTC

Sizik wrote:Better headline:
Gay cures AIDS


Where's your god now!?
EDIT: He's being awesome and screwing with bigots actually.
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Re: Child with HIV cured

Postby ahammel » Mon Mar 04, 2013 8:52 pm UTC

NPR wrote:Gay decided to begin treating the child immediately, with the first dose of antivirals given within 31 hours of birth. That's faster than most infants born with HIV get treated, and specialists think it's one important factor in the child's cure.

In addition, Gay gave higher-than-usual, "therapeutic" doses of three powerful HIV drugs rather than the "prophylactic" doses usually given in these circumstances.
Anybody have more details on this? I feel like there's more to the story than "I've got an idea: let's use more drugs."

NPR wrote:The only other such case known to AIDS researchers is the so-called Berlin patient — Timothy Brown of San Francisco. But his treatment involved a bone marrow transplant in Germany — essentially, he was given the immune system of a donor who's genetically resistant to HIV. That's not something that can be easily duplicated.
My understanding is that the issue here isn't replicating the procedure, it's the fact that having a bone marrow transplant really sucks.
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Re: Child with HIV cured

Postby CorruptUser » Mon Mar 04, 2013 9:23 pm UTC

Dark Avorian wrote:
Sizik wrote:Better headline:
Gay cures AIDS


Where's your god now!?
EDIT: He's being awesome and screwing with bigots actually.


Since sodomy causes hurricanes, the best solution to a drought is gay sex.

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Re: Child with HIV cured

Postby Iulus Cofield » Mon Mar 04, 2013 9:47 pm UTC

ahammel wrote:
NPR wrote:The only other such case known to AIDS researchers is the so-called Berlin patient — Timothy Brown of San Francisco. But his treatment involved a bone marrow transplant in Germany — essentially, he was given the immune system of a donor who's genetically resistant to HIV. That's not something that can be easily duplicated.
My understanding is that the issue here isn't replicating the procedure, it's the fact that having a bone marrow transplant really sucks.


There also can't be a whole lot of people with a natural immunity to HIV to get the marrow from, even if the procedure wasn't dangerous in itself.

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Re: Child with HIV cured

Postby Dark Avorian » Mon Mar 04, 2013 9:59 pm UTC

And you'd have to be a match to one of them to recieve it.
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Re: Child with HIV cured

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Mar 04, 2013 10:04 pm UTC

Is anyone else appalled that the child wasn't taken from the mother, despite the fact she went off the radar for almost a year and admitted to having stopped giving her assumed-to-be-HIV-positive-child antiretrovirals?
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Re: Child with HIV cured

Postby Krealr » Mon Mar 04, 2013 10:32 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Is anyone else appalled that the child wasn't taken from the mother, despite the fact she went off the radar for almost a year and admitted to having stopped giving her assumed-to-be-HIV-positive-child antiretrovirals?


It seems like parents get away with withholding medical treatment all the time. Unless the child dies or can be shown to actually be seriously harmed nothing seems to get done.

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Re: Child with HIV cured

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Mar 04, 2013 10:43 pm UTC

That the child didn't get sicker here is rather anomalous.

Presumably there's more to the mother story than they feel like reporting, so I'm going to stop making stuff up.
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Re: Child with HIV cured

Postby Fire Brns » Mon Mar 04, 2013 11:13 pm UTC

Iulus Cofield wrote:
ahammel wrote:
NPR wrote:The only other such case known to AIDS researchers is the so-called Berlin patient — Timothy Brown of San Francisco. But his treatment involved a bone marrow transplant in Germany — essentially, he was given the immune system of a donor who's genetically resistant to HIV. That's not something that can be easily duplicated.
My understanding is that the issue here isn't replicating the procedure, it's the fact that having a bone marrow transplant really sucks.


There also can't be a whole lot of people with a natural immunity to HIV to get the marrow from, even if the procedure wasn't dangerous in itself.

I'm fairly sure only people of Eurasian decent can naturally have the immunity due to the plague link to it.
That doesn't rule out gene therapy however.
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Re: Child with HIV cured

Postby Princess Marzipan » Tue Mar 05, 2013 12:38 am UTC

Dark Avorian wrote:
Sizik wrote:Better headline:
Gay cures AIDS


Where's your god now!?
EDIT: He's being awesome and screwing with bigots actually.
Actually actually, he's receiving praise from some of his idiot followers on the Internet. Apparently they're giving God credit for all the work that doctor did.
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Re: Child with HIV cured

Postby CorruptUser » Tue Mar 05, 2013 12:40 am UTC

Fire Brns wrote:I'm fairly sure only people of Eurasian decent can naturally have the immunity due to the plague link to it.
That doesn't rule out gene therapy however.


What does HIV have to do with the bubonic plague?

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Re: Child with HIV cured

Postby BattleMoose » Tue Mar 05, 2013 12:56 am UTC

ahammel wrote:
NPR wrote:The only other such case known to AIDS researchers is the so-called Berlin patient — Timothy Brown of San Francisco. But his treatment involved a bone marrow transplant in Germany — essentially, he was given the immune system of a donor who's genetically resistant to HIV. That's not something that can be easily duplicated.
My understanding is that the issue here isn't replicating the procedure, it's the fact that having a bone marrow transplant really sucks.


If memory serves correctly, he was in a very bad way with leukaemia and the bone marrow transplant was a treatment for that condition, happen-stance that the donor happened to be genetically resistant to HIV. Again if memory serves correctly he was near death with effectively no immune system, the latter being an important part of eliminating the HIV. And at the end, it was a surprise that the HIV was eliminated.

I don't think anyone has tried to replicate that.

Izawwlgood wrote:Is anyone else appalled that the child wasn't taken from the mother, despite the fact she went off the radar for almost a year and admitted to having stopped giving her assumed-to-be-HIV-positive-child antiretrovirals?


Yeah, but this is America, where medical treatment is absurdly expensive and if you're on minimum wage and have a new born to take care of and a single mother, it might be that her financial situation simply didn't allow for it. We just don't know enough about her circumstance to be able to condemn her.

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Re: Child with HIV cured

Postby CorruptUser » Tue Mar 05, 2013 12:59 am UTC

If she was on minimum wage with a kid, she would've definitely qualified for Medicaid.

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Re: Child with HIV cured

Postby BattleMoose » Tue Mar 05, 2013 1:00 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:
Fire Brns wrote:I'm fairly sure only people of Eurasian decent can naturally have the immunity due to the plague link to it.
That doesn't rule out gene therapy however.


What does HIV have to do with the bubonic plague?


There's a genetic mutation that protects against bubonic plague, fortunately, it also protects against HIV. This mutation increased in frequency when 30-60% of the European population died, natural selection.


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Re: Child with HIV cured

Postby ahammel » Tue Mar 05, 2013 4:06 am UTC

BattleMoose wrote:If memory serves correctly, he was in a very bad way with leukaemia and the bone marrow transplant was a treatment for that condition, happen-stance that the donor happened to be genetically resistant to HIV.
If I'm not mistaken, they went looking for a resistant donor.

Again if memory serves correctly he was near death with effectively no immune system, the latter being an important part of eliminating the HIV.
That's SOP for a bone-marrow transplant. Recovery takes more than three months in the best case scenario, and there's like a 30% mortality rate.
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Re: Gay cures AIDS

Postby Aikanaro » Tue Mar 05, 2013 1:26 pm UTC

I have to say, this title really disappointed me. I was hoping like hell the doctor/scientist who found the cure was actually homosexual, to REALLY rub it in the faces of bigots who say that AIDS is God punishing gays.
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Re: Gay cures AIDS

Postby Sero » Tue Mar 05, 2013 2:36 pm UTC

It would be amusing but you know those same bigots would just be 'Look at them violate GODS PLAN even more, how dare they!'
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Re: Gay cures AIDS

Postby CorruptUser » Tue Mar 05, 2013 2:40 pm UTC

In the words of Aesop*, 'any excuse will serve the tyrant'. They don't grok half the tripe that comes out of their mouths.

*inserted long after he died, because some people thought most others were idiots who wouldn't be able to figure out the moral themselves.

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Re: Child with HIV cured

Postby Heisenberg » Tue Mar 05, 2013 4:04 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Is anyone else appalled that the child wasn't taken from the mother, despite the fact she went off the radar for almost a year and admitted to having stopped giving her assumed-to-be-HIV-positive-child antiretrovirals?

I don't think it's clear that the mother is in custody of the child. The mother and child stopped coming in, and then both were subsequently found, after some "life changes." For all we know, the mother could be in another state and the child is with relatives unaware of her condition. The details won't be available due to HIPAA, so debating them really won't get us anywhere.

This is really awesome! Even if this can only be replicated in infants that'd still be a huge win.

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Re: Gay cures AIDS

Postby Diadem » Tue Mar 05, 2013 4:12 pm UTC

It's horrible that a infant with HIV could just drop from the radar like that for one and a half year. But we don't know the details surrounding it, nor will we (privacy being privacy). So it is indeed meaningless to speculate.

Though one could wonder how often it happens that children with serious medical conditions just disappear from medical care. And if it turns out to happen a lot, wonder about how to solve this.
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Re: Gay cures AIDS

Postby DSenette » Tue Mar 05, 2013 4:35 pm UTC

Sero wrote:It would be amusing but you know those same bigots would just be 'Look at them violate GODS PLAN even more, how dare they!'

like the folk that said the same stuff on the video of that child that got cochlear implants after being born deaf.....and by folk, I mean asshats.


I've actually already seen a stream of people praising jeebus for this fix "God really can work wonders" and the like...
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Re: Gay cures AIDS

Postby CorruptUser » Tue Mar 05, 2013 4:48 pm UTC

Revenge fantasy

Spoiler:
If I was supreme dictator of the world, I'd round up all the "god's plan" nuts, ask if everything that happened was part of god's plan. When they say yes, point a gun at their heads, and tell them I can't defy god's plan...

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Re: Gay cures AIDS

Postby Aikanaro » Wed Mar 06, 2013 2:42 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Revenge fantasy

Spoiler:
If I was supreme dictator of the world, I'd round up all the "god's plan" nuts, ask if everything that happened was part of god's plan. When they say yes, point a gun at their heads, and tell them I can't defy god's plan...

Yeah, but there's one small flaw in your plan:
Spoiler:
You're not Muad'Dib.
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Re: Child with HIV cured

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Mar 06, 2013 2:51 am UTC

Princess Marzipan wrote:Actually actually, he's receiving praise from some of his idiot followers on the Internet. Apparently they're giving God credit for all the work that doctor did.


This irks me a lot, actually. Whenever someone pulls off something that, frankly, happened because of a LOT of hard work, they just label it all as "god", and stop thinking about it there.

Apparently, god is Gay.

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Re: Child with HIV cured

Postby Decker » Wed Mar 06, 2013 3:16 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:
Dark Avorian wrote:
Sizik wrote:Better headline:
Gay cures AIDS

Where's your god now!?
EDIT: He's being awesome and screwing with bigots actually.

Since sodomy causes hurricanes, the best solution to a drought is gay sex.

Relevant Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal comic.

Also, while I agree that it's a huge breakthrough, I'm still a little disappointed in the oh so common sensationalism in the headlines (Not just this one specifically). The HIV virus was mostly eliminated, yes, but only under pretty specific circumstances. Though it's fantastic news for children born with HIV, I guess I wouldn't call it "curing AIDS".

I feel like I'm stating the obvious, but there you go.

Does anyone have any idea what percentage of people with HIV are born with it?
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Re: Gay cures AIDS

Postby BattleMoose » Wed Mar 06, 2013 3:34 am UTC

Being able to cure a condition in highly specific circumstances allows us to first understand that this thing can be beaten and we know how to beat it under some very specific circumstances. It gives us a point of reference to work from. If we can understand exactly how it was beaten in this instance it will improve our knowledge of the beast and allow us to beat it in less and less specific circumstances.

Developing an ability to defeat a disease in highly idealised conditions, usually always precedes our ability to defeat it in more general circumstances.

#This thread did have a more, factual title, but when the name of the doctor involved is Gay, who could resist.

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Re: Gay cures AIDS

Postby Decker » Wed Mar 06, 2013 3:46 am UTC

BattleMoose wrote:Being able to cure a condition in highly specific circumstances allows us to first understand that this thing can be beaten and we know how to beat it under some very specific circumstances. It gives us a point of reference to work from. If we can understand exactly how it was beaten in this instance it will improve our knowledge of the beast and allow us to beat it in less and less specific circumstances.

Developing an ability to defeat a disease in highly idealised conditions, usually always precedes our ability to defeat it in more general circumstances.

I agree, that's the case for most things like this. I'm not saying that this was a useless discovery by any stretch! It's just...well...look, have another Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal.
I agree that it's great news and IF it's reproducible, it will save a whole lot of lives.
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Re: Gay cures AIDS

Postby BattleMoose » Wed Mar 06, 2013 4:04 am UTC

Oh yeah, in absolute agreement. The media, doesn't do much well. :-/

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Re: Gay cures AIDS

Postby dii » Thu Mar 07, 2013 8:34 pm UTC

This thread title is full of win.

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Re: Gay cures AIDS

Postby Angua » Fri Jul 11, 2014 6:59 am UTC

Crabtree's bludgeon: “no set of mutually inconsistent observations can exist for which some human intellect cannot conceive a coherent explanation, however complicated”
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Re: Gay cures AIDS

Postby Paul in Saudi » Fri Jul 11, 2014 10:13 am UTC

Yeah, a sad twist in the tale.

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Re: Gay cures AIDS

Postby sardia » Fri Jul 11, 2014 1:37 pm UTC

Paul in Saudi wrote:Yeah, a sad twist in the tale.

Or the original tale was a lie.

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Re: Gay cures AIDS

Postby Mambrino » Fri Jul 11, 2014 2:49 pm UTC

sardia wrote:
Paul in Saudi wrote:Yeah, a sad twist in the tale.

Or the original tale was a lie.


What do mean, that they've lied about girls HIV test results until now?

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Re: Gay cures AIDS

Postby sardia » Fri Jul 11, 2014 7:18 pm UTC

Mambrino wrote:
sardia wrote:
Paul in Saudi wrote:Yeah, a sad twist in the tale.

Or the original tale was a lie.


What do mean, that they've lied about girls HIV test results until now?

I mean the tale that the girl was cured of HIV is not true. Its more akin to lazy journalists reporting recent studies and extrapolating badly.

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Re: Gay cures AIDS

Postby Izawwlgood » Fri Jul 11, 2014 7:39 pm UTC

sardia wrote:
Mambrino wrote:
sardia wrote:
Paul in Saudi wrote:Yeah, a sad twist in the tale.

Or the original tale was a lie.


What do mean, that they've lied about girls HIV test results until now?

I mean the tale that the girl was cured of HIV is not true. Its more akin to lazy journalists reporting recent studies and extrapolating badly.
I am very curious what you are basing this assertion on.
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Re: Gay cures AIDS

Postby Angua » Fri Jul 11, 2014 10:14 pm UTC

Yeah, the journalists get a pass on this one. It was the people involved in her care who broke it way too early.
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Re: Child with HIV cured

Postby Crissa » Sun Jul 13, 2014 6:40 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:If she was on minimum wage with a kid, she would've definitely qualified for Medicaid.

Not in Mississippi.

Medicaid qualification is a state-by-state issue.

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