Sunday, August 6, 2023
Gene That Could Lower HIV Levels In People Of African Descent
Some people of African descent tend to have a lower HIV viral load and a newly discovered gene might be the reason why. A viral load is the amount of infection in a persons system and it can vary due to a variety of different reasons and one of them being genetics. Given that Africa was hit the hardest with HIV infections, research was done analyzing the DNA of almost 4,000 individuals living with HIV-1 which is the most common type HIV. It was discovered that a region within chromosome 1 contained the gene CHD1L, which was associated with the reduced viral load of those who carry the virus. Although it is not yet clear how CHD1L is used in lowering the viral load, it is known to play a role in repairing damaged DNA. Researches created immune cells in which the CHD1L gene is switched off and discovered that HIV tends to attack those immune cells and it replicated more efficiently in an immune cells called a microphage when the CHD1L gene was again switched off. Since there is still a million new infections a year and with no cure, the next step in helping control HIV is to learn how this genetic variation helps in reducing the HIV viral load.