One in 10 children with HIV have a ‘monkey-like’ immune system that protects them from developing AIDS, according to a new study which may lead to new immune-based therapies for the deadly infection.
HIV eventually wipes out the immune system, making the body vulnerable to other infections and leading to the development of AIDS.
The study by researchers, including those from University of Oxford in the UK, was conducted on 170 children who had HIV in South Africa. These children never had any antiretroviral therapy, but had not developed AIDS.
Researchers claimed that every millilitre of these children’s blood had lakhs of human immunodeficiency viruses, but they never fell ill, ‘BBC News’ reported.
“Essentially, their immune system is ignoring the virus as far as possible. Waging war against the virus is in most cases the wrong thing to do,” said Philip Goulder, one of the researchers from the University of Oxford.
HIV infection in children leads to the death of 60 per cent of them before two and a half years of age. The same infection in the monkeys is not deadly.