In a study released today, genetic researchers may have discovered one reason for the high prevalence of HIV in Africa. Scientists discovered, in those of African descent, a gene variation that has protected its carriers from certain forms of malaria. Unfortunately, the same mutation may make these individuals 40% more susceptible to contracting HIV. While there are many factors that contribute to the high rate of HIV infection in Africa, this gene mutation only exacerbates the problem. The study appears in Cell Host and Microbe, a scientific journal. Links to the study and a Wall Street Journal article about it appear below.
- “Duffy Antigen Receptor for Chemokines Mediates trans-Infection of HIV-1 from Red Blood Cells to Target Cells and Affects HIV-AIDS Susceptibility,” Cell Host and Microbe, July 17, 2008.
- “Untying a Genetic Knot,” The Wall Street Journal, July 17, 2008.