|CCR5 mutation and infection.
Dec 11, 2011
I am friends with someone who has the CCR5 mutation who is infection with HIV. His viral load has been undetectable for 5 years (he never had any detectable viral load) and he is not on meds. If the bone marrow with this gene cured the Berlin patient then how can someone who has the gene naturally be infected? Is it possible he just has antibodies and he fought off the infection but there is no virus in his system, even in his reservoirs? If the virus needs the CCR5 protein to infect the cell then how can someone in this situation be infected? I am very confused.
| Response from Dr. Holodniy
The devil here is in the details. It takes 2 copies of the CCR5 gene mutation in order for some to be protected from getting infection. But that is not always 100%. If you have one normal copy and one mutated copy than you are at lower risk but can still acquire the infection. The CCR5 receptor is one of the co-receptors that HIV uses to infect cells in addition to CD4. Viruses can also use the CXCR4 receptor, so a person who acquires infection with an X4 strain could become infected via the CXCR4 receptor pathway regardless of CCR5 status.
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