-- Robert Preidt
THURSDAY, Oct. 31 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers who created
the first map of human resistance to HIV say their achievement
could lead to improved treatments for the virus, which causes
When a person is infected with HIV, the immune system tries to
destroy the virus. In order to thwart those attacks, HIV undergoes
millions of genetic mutations a day. In most cases, this tactic
enables HIV to defeat the immune system.
However, some people's immune systems manage to hold HIV at bay
without any treatment.
"The virus survives but replicates more slowly, and thus its capacity for destruction is in some sense neutralized," study co-author Jacques Fellay, of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, said in an institute news release.
In this study, Fellay and fellow geneticists used a
supercomputer to analyze immune system-triggered mutations in the
genomes of a variety of strains of HIV from more than 1,000
The findings improve understanding of how the immune system
tries to defend against HIV and how HIV adapts to that defense,
according to the study published Oct. 29 in the journal
By studying people's natural defenses against HIV, it may be
possible to develop new treatments and individualized therapies
that take into account patients' genetic strengths and weaknesses,
the researchers suggested.
The U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
has more about
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