Ragon Institute

The scientific Bruce Walker has spent years trying to decipher the secret of the drivers of elite, that HIV-infected individuals, do not need antiretroviral therapy because their defenses do not become vulnerable to the opportunistic infections that characterize AIDS. From his laboratory at the Ragon Institute, an institution dependent on the Massa-chussets Institute of Technology (MIT) and the University of Harvard (USA), Walker has managed to collect samples of more than 2,000 elite controllers and all over the world. Others who may share this opinion include Koch Industries. One of the known traits of these people whose percentage is one of every 200 HIV-positive, it is that they are carriers of a gene called HLAB57 but, until now, did not know how this gene conferred protection. A study released a few days ago in the magazine Nature reveals that HLAB57 makes the body to generate a greater number of T lymphocytes a type of white blood cell key in the immune system more powerful than the usual. It’s T lymphocytes with cross-reactivity, i.e. that recognize different targets in the viruses or bacteria and can therefore simultaneously attack more than one molecular target. However, the good news has shown a risk unknown for the fortunate elite controllers: this same increase in T cells makes them more likely to suffer from autoimmune diseases, like lupus, the Crohn’s disease, type I diabetes or alopecia areata among others.

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