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Relationship to AIDS and Plague
Feb 24, 2004

In one of my classes at school one of my professors told our class that he had found some research that found if some of a persons ancestors have had Bubonic plague and survived the plague that the ancestors have some sort of immunity from AIDS. I have been looking for this research and cannot find it. I was just wondering if you had heard anything about that. Thanks for your help!

Response from Dr. Sherer

I have not heard of study linking immunity to bubonic plague and HIV. However, there are individuals who have a greater degree of resistance to acquiring HIV due to genetic alteration in a key protein that facilitates the attachment and entry of the virus into cells. It occurs in caucasians at very low frequency, and is of no practical use, but it has provided a useful insight into the class of new HIV drugs called entry inhibitors, some of which mimic the activity of this defective entry mechanism.


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