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Immunity against Aids

  1. Jul 12, 2004 #1
    If I remember correctly, I was watching the Discovery Channel one day, and they were talking about some tribal women in Africa who had developed some type of immunity against AIDS/HIV. I can't find this info on the web yet! But I still remember them talking about studying these women, and there immune system in hopes to mimic their ability to fight this disease. I know I've heard of it. I was wonder if anybody else heard of this? This could be, if it is true, some proof of how evolution works, and someday these women will pass the gene that allows them to fight AIDS to their offspring, and possibly in the future, the people of Africa will be totally immune to the HIV virus.
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  3. Jul 13, 2004 #2


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    There is a mutation in the CCR - 5 receptor gene that makes it impossible for foreign bodies, such as viruses, to enter human lymphocytes. Although it's a relatively uncommon mutation, there was one event in history during which this would have provided a huge selective advantage: the Black Plague. Individuals that are heterzygous for this mutation will have an advantage in that both bubonic plague and HIV will take over their immune systems much more slowly, allowing more time for treatment and possible remission. Individuals that are homozygous for this mutation will be completely immune to both bubonic plague and HIV. As is expected, just about every person of European descent who has been found to be immune to infection with HIV can trace their lineage back to Plague survivors. Perhaps a similar bottlenecking will now occur in Africa, providing survivors of the current epidemic with a gene to pass on to future generations. Who knows, maybe someday there will be yet another disease that attacks our white blood cells.

    Here's a link to a short video clip from PBS where Dr. Stephen O'Brien discusses his research regarding this mutation:
  4. Jul 13, 2004 #3


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  5. Jul 13, 2004 #4


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    Well, I hadn't seen that. Still, Dr. O'Brien has a lot more research to back up his claim than these researchers do to back up theirs. Do you happen to know if there actually was a smallpox epidemic during the time of the Plague? If not, it's hard to see how that hypothesis would even make any sense.

    Either way, though, it's pretty certain that the CCR-5 mutation is what provides immunity to HIV. Whether or not this will cause the frequency of the mutation to increase in ravished parts of Africa is another question entirely. AIDS is a disease that operates far more slowly than either plague or smallpox. Infected persons usually are adults and are already of breeding age. In fact, the sexually transmitted nature of the HIV virus combined with the lack of adequate contraception in that part of the world means that infected persons very likely already have children. It is not clear why this mutation would have any greater chance of being passed on than the normal gene coding for the CCR-5 receptor.
  6. Nov 15, 2006 #5
    A study of Nairobi prostitutes, repeatedly exposed to HIV (25% or more of their clients are HIV positive), has shown that many of these women have been free of disease for more than 12 years and seem to be completely resistant to infection. There seem to be associations between their resistance to infection and their class I and class II MHC (HLA) haplotypes. The strongest association of protection is with HLA-A*6802, A*0202 and B18. These women have mounted a very strong CTL response that is likely to mediate protection. It is possible that these particular class I MHC antigens allow a very efficient CTL response. Alternatively, they may present epitopes that are highly conserved between different HIV-1 variant strains. For example, one epitope to which there is a strong CTL response in these women is that presented by B18. This epitope is found to be located in a highly conserved part of HIV p24 protein. It appears to be conserved because it is very important in the assembly of the virus. Another important epitope is presented by HLA-A*6802 and this is in the protease. The protease may not be able to bear much mutation in this region without losing enzymic activity and so the virus cannot escape the immune response by mutation.
  7. Nov 16, 2006 #6

    if this is true and you find some info on it i would be verry interested to read about it.
  8. Dec 30, 2010 #7
    Reasent discovery is that 20% of the people living in the scandinavian contrys and 20% of the population in the northern part of uk has that imunity.
    Braketrough news is that due to a transplant to a patient suffering from blood cancer that also had aids and got a donation from a imune giver is now free from Aids.

    I myselfe has studied this phenomena and there was a show on discovery about it.
    The imunity also works against plauge.
    The Imunity came around year 5000 bc according to dna samples and is most likely to have accured when the scandinavians shifted from being hunters to living at the same place stacking wood.
    The sickness they contracted then was Rat plauge and most likely killed of a great deal of the population as The commen forrest rat in sweden is a carrier of the virus and loves to live in wood piles.

    As the vikings founded colonys in the northern part of england the gene was passed on to that population.

    Regards FarNorth
  9. Dec 30, 2010 #8
    The CCR-5 mutation is what the scandinavians have and they also had a trading post " The ost india company " in that part of africa and would explain why small part of the population there still have the immunity cus they probably mixed some with the natives ;)
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