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May 6, 2010

Study in elite who control HIV without drugs points way for vaccine

"Research in people who have controlled HIV at very low levels for years without drugs has revealed that a human genetic trait linked to autoimmunity may point the way to an effective vaccine against HIV, researchers from Boston report today in the online edition of the journal Nature.

"A very small proportion of people (around 0.5%) who become infected with HIV experience little or no disease progression, and maintain a viral load that is near to undetectable for many years.

"Scientists led by Professor Bruce Walker of Massachusetts General Hospital have been recruiting these `elite controllers` of HIV for the past four years with the aim of studying how their immune systems control HIV.

"The newly-published study looked at one common feature of many 'elite controllers', a genetic mutation called HLA B57 which is also associated with autoimmune conditions in which immune cells can attack the host’s own proteins because they are not recognised as 'self'."

Read more:, May 5, 2010.