Monday, March 03, 2003

Delta 32 and AIDS

During the last 15 years, understanding of the pathogenesis of HIV- 1 infection and AIDS has developed rapidly. From a mysterious plague-like untreatable disease with unknown cause and transmission route to a well characterized, chronic, manageable, if yet not curable, retroviral infection.
Several large epidemiological studies of people with clinically defined AIDS have revealed that the CCR5-Delta32 allele. It is a common mutational variant of the CCR5 coding gene. CCR5-Delta32 was discovered in 1996. Since then, several large epidemiological studies of people with clinically-defined AIDS have revealed that the CCR5-Delta32 allele, when inherited from both parents, confers nearly complete genetic resistance to HIV infection, even in individuals who are at extremely high risk of infection. A few CCR5-Delta32 homozygotes have become infected -- usually with the T-tropic, late-stage form of HIV -- but this occurrence is extremely rare. Individuals who inherit the CCR5-Delta32 allele from only one parent do become infected with HIV, but in such individuals the onset of AIDS-defining illness is postponed for two to four years longer than it is in individuals without the mutational variant. Also, it was shown that CCR5-Delta32 slows disease progression in children born to HIV-infected mothers.

(Posted by Iman)

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