Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE INTERVIEW

Former CIA agent: Women terrorists are 'probably the wave of the future'

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'The first debate featured an unprepared man repeatedly shouting over a highly prepared woman'

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Who won the debate?'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Markets hand debate victory to Clinton

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Anticipating the debate

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Abubakar Shekau says he is still leading Boko Haram

Read more

THE DEBATE

Peace at last? Colombia, FARC rebels sign historic agreement (part 1)

Read more

THE DEBATE

Peace at last? Colombia, FARC rebels sign historic agreement (part 2)

Read more

ENCORE!

Music show: Mykki Blanco, Van Morrison & The Weeknd’s duo with Daft Punk

Read more

Genes said to help prevent HIV infection

Latest update : 2008-07-17

Scientists in Canada say they have isolated two specific genes that could determine an innate resistance to HIV infection and thereby prevent people from developing AIDS.

Scientists have isolated two genes which may prevent people from contracting HIV or at least slow the rate at which they develop AIDS, a new study has found.

The genes were isolated by comparing the genetic profiles of people in their first year of HIV infection with those who managed to resist infection despite repeated exposure to the virus.

The "good" versions of the two genes were present in 12.2 percent of those who resisted infection compared with only 2.7 of patients in primary HIV infection.

Researchers are not yet sure how this protection works.

One of the gene codes for a receptor on the surface of the immune system's natural killer cells which destroy infected cells in the body.

The other codes for a protein which binds the first gene and dampens the natural killer cell activity.

The most likely explanation is that HIV prevents the protein that dampens the killer cell activity from being expressed, allowing the killer cells to destroy cells infected with HIV.

Since this can happen very soon after the initial infection, people carrying those genes may be able to more efficiently destroy infected cells and lower their chances of developing AIDS.

"More research is needed to determine the exact mechanism behind the protection we have observed, but these findings have revealed a promising avenue," said co-author Nicole Bernard of the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre.

"In the future, our findings could be used to somehow 'boost' the innate immune system and thus fight the virus as soon as it enters the body."

The study was published Wednesday in the journal AIDS.
 

Date created : 2008-07-17

COMMENT(S)