- Note - People almost never discuss whether there is a
racial component to AIDS. Back in 2000, I remember reading of two studies
by scientists which stated that white people might be less susceptible
to AIDS than say blacks. The one report I read said that in a survey done
in Europe 9-11% of white people were found to be immune to AIDS. I think
the one study was published in Scientific American. I have a suspicion
that black people in Africa have a higher incidence of AIDS because of:
(a) Sexual practises (b) Genetics. That's my own personal view.
- I should say though, that there are black prostitutes
in South Africa who are also immune to AIDS and they have been closely
studied as well. It is from such sources that science may yet find a cure/treatment.
- PARIS - French and Vietnamese researchers believe they
have shed light on one of the big puzzles of the Aids pandemic: how some
lucky individuals never become infected by HIV even if they are chronically
exposed to the virus.
- One of the secrets of this remarkable protection lies
in so-called natural killer (NK) cells, which are part of the body's first
line of defence against microbial invasion, they report in December's issue
of an American publication, The Journal of Immunology.
- Levels of NK were far higher among Vietnamese intravenous
drug users who show no sign of infection by the human immunodeficiency
virus (HIV) despite long years of exposure to it, the study said.
- NK cells, the authors believe, can destroy fellow immune
cells that have been infected by the virus and they may also be able to
secrete molecules that inhibit HIV infection in the first place.
- The study, led by Gianfranco Pancino and Daniel Scott-Algara
of the Retrovirus Biology Unit at the Pasteur Institute, compared NK cell
functions among 37 long-term, at-risk drug users who had been uninfected;
10 drug users who were infected; and 28 blood donors who had not been exposed
to the virus.
- Between five and 15% of people in "at risk"
groups of contracting HIV - other than intravenous drug users, these groups
are prostitutes and people who engage in regular unprotected sex with an
infected individual - appear to have innate immunity against the virus.
- The phenomenon first came to light in the 1990s among
a now-celebrated group of Kenyan prostitutes.
- In a press statement, the Pasteur Institute said it was
likely that "multiple factors" played a part in such immunity,
not just NK cells.
- These factors include resistance to HIV replication within
CD4 immune cells as well as a mutation, so far found only among Caucasians,
in a receptor on immune cells that may make these cells tougher for the
virus to infiltrate.
- Even so, the institute said, the findings on the role
of NK cells were deeply significant.
- Figuring out how NK cells are able to shield out the
virus could eventually open up "new and unexpected therapeutic strategies"
in the hunt for an HIV vaccine.
- According to an updated estimate issued on Tuesday by
UNAids and the World Health Organisation (WHO) around 40 million people
are living with HIV or Aids today, an increase of some five million over
- In the 22-year documented history of Aids, only one candidate
vaccine, Aidsvax, has been through the long and costly three-phase process
of testing on humans for safety and effectiveness. That trial was conducted
mainly in the United States and Thailand and concluded this year, in failure.