Genetic predisposition to AIDS

14 December 2008
Posted by Chris Smith.

Some people might be genetically pre-disposed to developed more severe consequences of AIDS infections, new research has found.

HIV VirusesWriting in the journal AIDS, Stephen O'Brien and his colleagues at the National Cancer Institute, Maryland, sequenced the mitochondrial DNA from 1833 patients infected with HIV in the 1980s before anti-retroviral drugs became available.  By comparing the genetic data with the time each of the patients took to develop AIDS the team were able to identify certain genetic signatures linked to progression of the disease.  The results could be used prognostically in future to inform HIV-infected patients of their likely outcome. 

At the same time, understanding the mechanism that makes some people more susceptible than others may also help to highlight novel approaches to treatment.

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