Key HIV gene discovered

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Sunday, January 9, 2005

Researchers from the Argentinian Garrahan Hospital, the CONICET (National Scientific and Technical Investigations Council) , the University of Texas, and the Wilford Hall Medical Center discovered that quantities of a specific immunological gene in humans (CCL3L1) may have an effect on the contraction and development of HIV and AIDS.

According to the investigation, individuals with fewer copies of the gene are more prone to contract the virus in case of direct contact. Each additional copy of the gene reduced the chance of infection by 5-10%, according to a press release from the study's leader, Dr. Sunil Ahuja of the University of Texas.

The study is based upon the analysis of blood samples from 4308 subjects, including 800 children at Garrahan Hospital, located in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The gene may act upon "blocking substances" that are inside cells and have an important role in preventing infections, including the one brought on by HIV. Those cases which presented less quantities of this gene had a higher index of HIV+ infections, while the rest appeared to be more resistant.

The research was detailed in a paper published on January 6, 2005, through Science Magazine's online service, Science Express.

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