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November 6, 2010

Study offers new clues to effective HIV vaccine

Reuters: "Slight differences in five amino acids in a protein called HLA-B may explain why certain people resist the human immunodeficiency virus, U.S. researchers said on Thursday in a study that lends new clues about how to make a vaccine to prevent AIDS.

"'For a long time, we've known that some people progress extremely rapidly when they get infected, and others can stay well for three decades and never need treatment and still look entirely well,' said Dr. Bruce Walker of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard University, whose study appears in the journal Science.

"'We thought we could apply new techniques from the human genome project to understand what the genetic basis was for that,' he said.

"About one in 300 people infected with HIV can suppress the virus with the immune system, keeping the virus at extremely low levels."