HIV Quickly Evolving Among Large Groups Study

A recent study has concluded that the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) evolves too quickly to avoid the body’s immune defense system. This has caused many researchers to become frustrated as the quest for an AIDS vaccine has become a futile endeavor.

According to the study, which was published recently at the journal Nature, mutations in HIV have enable the virus to rapidly evade from everything the researchers have come up in order for our body to fight the virus by itself. In fact, the virus evolves so fast, it has able to mutate itself in several forms in just a decade.

"Even in the short time that HIV has been in the human population, it is doing an effective job of evading our best efforts at natural immune control of the virus," said Philip Goulder, a researcher at Oxford University, in an interview with the journal.

Goulder’s team analyzed the genetic codes and strains of HIV taken from 2,800 infected patients in North America, the Caribbean, Europe, sub-Saharan Africa, Australia, and Japan. They found that the virus is able to mutate when facing the more successful variants of these genes. This kind of "escape mutation" is then added to the viral progeny and then passed on to the human population when another person is being infected. Additionally, strains of HIV are different from one part of the world to another.

This means that not only should researchers be able to develop an HIV vaccine that would defeat the virus, but also be strong enough to take on these geographical differences as well as the stealthy, slippery mutability of the virus itself.

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