Battling malaria for millennia helped Africans build barriers against the parasite that causes it, but that defense has proven to be a double-edged sword for HIV infection.
A genetic variation that prevents a protein called the Duffy
antigen from being made in red blood cells defends against malaria. But that
defense mechanism increases an individual’s chance of contracting HIV by about
40 percent, an international group of researchers reports in the July 17 Cell Host & Microbe. The genetic
variant could account for 2 million to 3 million cases of HIV in
Note: To comment, Science News subscribing members must now establish a separate login relationship with Disqus. Click the Disqus icon below, enter your e-mail and click “forgot password” to reset your password. You may also log into Disqus using Facebook, Twitter or Google.