Scientists are Finding New Ways of Combating HIV

AIDS has become a growing scourge globally. An HIV infections have been found to lead into the disease that until now, still has no effective cure. The only way that the disease is being fought today is through prevention as well as slowing the advance of HIV infections in the early stages to somehow delay its development into full-blown AIDS.

Many scientists have continued studying ways on how to combat HIV infections, before it leads to AIDS. This is the stage that many scientists believe they have a chance of trying to discover the cure for the dreaded disease someday. As the battle rages on to find a cure, many scientists have been finding newer ways in trying to fight the disease.

An article on HealthDay News ( tells of a recent discovery of how certain combinations of genes in the body have been found to provide humans with a better immune reaction to AIDS that affects the progression of the disease.

Scientists from the US National Cancer Institute and Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) have found out that particular combinations of two genes in the human body- the KIR3DL1 and the HLA-B – provided some evidence of protection against the progression of AIDS. The study showed that certain variations of the two genes can explain why some people are doing better in handling the disease than others.

The KIR3DLI genes are active in the NK or Natural Killer cells in the body, a part of the innate immune system that is the body’s less specific but immediate line of defense against invading organisms. The innate immune system works immediately to fight of invading pathogens in the body but does not offer long lasting immunity in case the said pathogens invade the body. Long lasting immunity is the work of the body’s adaptive immune system which provides the long lasting immunity from certain pathogens in case a repeated attack ensues.

In the said study which was headed by Mary Carrington, principal investigator at the US National Cancer Institute, certain combinations of genes were discovered to show a more robust “innate” NK cell response. The same response was said to help boost the efficiency of the T-cells which are found in the adaptive immune system.

The NK cells in the said gene combinations were able to kill more HIV infected cells even before the T-cell are activated to provide an adaptive immune response. The scientists believe that having a better innate immune response as provided by certain combinations of genes in the NK cells will allow individuals to have a better T-cell response and therefore provide a better adaptive immune response.

Although the study did not show any immediate therapeutic applications in combating AIDS, the team has shown another way of how to control the progression of the dreaded disease. The study showed that finding a way in stimulating NK cell activity in fighting HIV early on may help in influencing the course of AIDS in an individual.

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