One in 100 people ‘can naturally resist HIV, malaria, leprosy and hepatitis’ | Mail OnlinePosted: February 6, 2012
The research also highlights the fact that many lethal pathogens – including HIV, malaria, leprosy and hepatitis – rely on interactions with host genes to infect and replicate within human cells.
Inherited differences in the level of expression of these genes can lead to large variations in the relative susceptibility of different individuals to the pathogen.
The senior author of the report, funded by the Defence Threat Reduction Agency of the U.S. Department of Defence, is Professor of genetics Stanley Cohen.
‘Every pathogen has its own virulence strategy,’ said Stanford professor of microbiology and immunology David Relman, who was not involved in the research.
‘We already knew that infection by the same organisms in different people can have different outcomes.
‘But until now it’s been very difficult to determine whether this variability was due to genetic or environmental factors.
‘This is one of the few studies that has successfully identified a host-genetics-based molecular cause of this variability.’