Gene variants predict HIV viral levels

First genome-wide study in HIV patients links HLA gene to proliferation of virus

Amy Coombs
Jul 18, 2007
Variations in three genes help set the viral level of HIV, according to a study published in this week's Science. The findings help explain why viral load differs dramatically between individuals, and pinpoint genes that may regulate the mechanism of the disease. The study, the first genome-wide search for genes involved in HIV control, "raises new questions about the mechanisms via which the genes identified affect viral load and disease progression at the cellular and molecular level," said David Camerini of the University of California, Irvine, who was not involved in the work. "It also suggests new avenues to manipulate the immune response to HIV-1 with vaccines." Viral titer differs dramatically from patient to patient-in some the virus is almost undetectable, while others host as many as one million copies in a milliliter of blood. To find out if genetic differences between patients make them more vulnerable...

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