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Nongene DNA boosts AIDS risk

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10:52am, November 7, 2007

From San Diego, at a meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics

A newly discovered genetic variation raises some people's vulnerability to infection by HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

People who have this difference in a single letter of their genetic code would have about a 15 percent greater risk that exposure to the virus will lead to infection than would individuals without the genetic variation. That conclusion comes from laboratory studies of human cells by Samuel Deutsch of the University of Geneva and his colleagues there and at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland.

Once infected, furthermore, those with the variation fare worse than other HIV-positive people. In a comparison of 805 HIV patients not yet receiving antiviral drugs, the 56 people with the mutation showed a more rapid decline of the immune system than did those without the mutation.

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