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New Data On Individuals With Natural Ability To Fight Off AIDS

“Scientists on Sunday said they had found a key piece in the puzzle as to why a tiny minority of individuals infected with HIV have a natural ability to fight off the deadly AIDS virus,” Agence France-Presse reports. “In a study they said holds promise for an HIV vaccine, researchers from four countries reported the secret lies not in the number of infection-killing cells a person has, but in how well they work,” AFP writes. “Only about one person in 300 has the ability to control the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) without drugs” the news service notes (6/10).

“The key seems to be that certain cells in the immune systems of these people are better able to detect and kill cells that are infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, said study co-author Dr. Bruce Walker, a professor at Harvard School of Public Health,” HealthDay reports, adding, “In essence, he said, they have better ‘glasses’ than the same cells in patients who can’t fight off the virus as well. These cells are better able to ‘see’ signs of trouble from infected cells that send out a kind of distress signal” (Dotinga, 6/10).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.