While one of the most dreaded diseases in the world today is the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), a small proportion of people exist who are resistant to it. They are called the the non-progressors or HIV-resistant individuals. They however constitute a very few percentage of the population.
Why HIV resistance?
Normally, for an individual to be down with HIV, the infection enters and attacks a protein receptor on the white blood cells known as the C-C chemikine receptor (CCR5 or CD195).This particular receptor is involved in the Immune system and serves to attract white blood cells to tissues and Target organs. This receptors also serve as the main target for the HIV.
However, in the HIV-resistant individuals, there is a mutation (change) in the CCR5 such that they are protected and uninfected by HIV. In few others who get infected with HIV, the disease is unable to progress to the next stage of Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and therefore, do not show break down with infections as others.
The CCR5 protein.
How HIV attacks the CCR5 protein.
History in view.
The first recorded case of an HIV-resistant person was in the early 1995. Stephen Crohn was discovered to be resistant to HIV despite having multiple partners who tested positive for the virus. In the early 2000, a small group of s3x workers in Nairobi, Kenya were estimated to have had s3xual contact with over 60 HIV positive clients a year and yet, were without signs of being infected.
So far, the most powerful form of resistance is said to be limited to people with European or Central Asian heritage. An estimated 1 percent of people are said to descend from Northern Europeans and are virtually immune to AIDS infection, with Swedes the most likely to be protected.
Hope for mankind.
With this remarkable discovery over the years, scientists have been optimistic that HIV infection would one day be a "walk-over" just like every other disease with a permanent cure and treatment.
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