Malaria gene ‘increases HIV risk’

A gene which apparently evolved to protect people from malaria increases their vulnerability to HIV infection by 40%, say US and UK scientists.

People of African descent have a variation of the “DARC” gene which may interfere with their ability to fight HIV in its early stages. The Cell Host and Microbe study says the gene accounts for millions of extra HIV cases in sub-Saharan Africa. People with the gene appear to live longer with HIV than others.

While the differences in HIV prevalence in different parts of the world can be partly explained by different social conditions and sexual behaviour, scientists have long suspected that there may be genetic reasons why the virus is rife in certain communities.

Read more of this BBC report >>

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