Happy Friday, my dear readers. Wow there was a lot of bad celebrity news this week, from Alex Trebek, the beloved “Jeopardy” host, announcing he has Stage 4 pancreatic cancer, to baseball legend Tom Seaver telling the world he’s suffering from dementia and will no longer appear in public, to the Kardashians still being famous for some reason (OK, that last one was a joke, as are they.)
But it’s Friday and we’re here for all the Good News this week, and before I get to two amazing musical performances that made me smile, a major health breakthrough this week on a disease that terrified so many of us for so long: HIV/AIDS.
If you missed the news, for just the second time since the global epidemic began, a patient appears to have been cured of infection with H.I.V., the virus that causes AIDS.
According to this N.Y. Times story, “the news comes nearly 12 years to the day after the first patient known to be cured, a feat that researchers have long tried, and failed, to duplicate. The surprise success now confirms that a cure for H.I.V. infection is possible, if difficult, researchers said.
The investigators are to publish their report on Tuesday in the journal Nature and to present some of the details at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Seattle.
Publicly, the scientists are describing the case as a long-term remission. In interviews, most experts are calling it a cure, with the caveat that it is hard to know how to define the word when there are only two known instances.”
I know, I know, it’s only been two patients, and “cured” is a dangerous word for any disease. The cure involved a bone-marrow transplant, which is dangerous sometimes, and expensive, always.
But still… think about where we were with AIDS just 30 years ago, in 1989. There was so much hysteria, and paranoia, about how one acquired AIDS, and what happens if you got it, and how it was pretty much a death sentence for everyone.
And then slowly, treatment drugs got better and better, we learned more about the disease and the paranoia and intolerance and hatred toward those who were diagnosed with it began to fade.
And now, just a few decades later, maybe, there’s a cure. Science gives me hope for the future, in so many areas.
**Next up today, the first of two musical collaborations that made me beam with joy this week. First, from the U.K. version of “The Voice,” two amazing voices teamed up to sing “It’s a Man’s World.” The great Tom Jones, age 78, and Jennifer Hudson, age 37, with a couple of minutes of just pure beauty.
He’s 78 and still sounds that good!
**And finally, you may have heard that there’s a movie in the works about the legendary Elton John, and the actor playing him, Taron Egerton, has gone all-in in trying to be like Sir Elton.
Including sounding like him. Check out this clip of Elton and Taron singing “Tiny Dancer,” and be amazed like I was at how much the actor sounds like Elton.
Yeah I am totally seeing this movie.