MartiniPundit

Random thoughts and insights – always shaken, never stirred

Genetic Immunity to HIV?

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There’s an interesting piece in Wired discussing a possible explanation for those people who seem to be immune to HIV. This phenomenon has long been known in medical circles, and it crops up from time to time in the mainstream press. Here’s an excerpt:

Genetic resistance to AIDS works in different ways and appears in different ethnic groups. The most powerful form of resistance, caused by a genetic defect, is limited to people with European or Central Asian heritage. An estimated 1 percent of people descended from Northern Europeans are virtually immune to AIDS infection, with Swedes the most likely to be protected. One theory suggests that the mutation developed in Scandinavia and moved southward with Viking raiders.

All those with the highest level of HIV immunity share a pair of mutated genes — one in each chromosome — that prevent their immune cells from developing a “receptor” that lets the AIDS virus break in. If the so-called CCR5 receptor — which scientists say is akin to a lock — isn’t there, the virus can’t break into the cell and take it over.

Vikings? Perhaps someone should look into Iceland’s situation, as their genetics have been kept in the family for a millenium now. The article is worth a read.

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Written by martinipundit

June 7, 2006 at 11:17 am

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