Between ten and fifteen percent of Scandinavian people have a natural protection against HIV.
Facts about HIV and CCR5
- HIV is infected because the HIV virus first attaches itself to cells that have so-called CD4 molecules on the outside. Unfortunately, such cells are the “genes” of our immune system at the same time.
- For the virus to penetrate the CD4 cell, the virus needs assistance from a helper called CCR5. It turns out that some people in particular in Northern Europe have a mutation of CCR5 that causes the virus to not get help into the cell and thus infect the CD4 cell.
- However, most such mutations have the mutation only in half of their CCR5 receptors and can be infected, but to a lesser degree than most others. The few who have only mutated CCR5 receptors are hardly infected.
Although the scholars most often contend, there seems to be agreement that ten to fifteen percent of Scandinavian people have a natural protection against HIV.
This is stuck through long-term research in the field. Blood samples from different populations show that northern Europe and especially Scandinavia stand out as the area with the largest proportion of people with such protection.
Why, you say?
Well, because many at home have a mutation or defect of a particular receptor in the immune system, called CCR5, which the HIV virus uses to get in and infect its target cells.
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Can be tested
If you’re lucky enough to be among the immune, it’s relatively easy to figure out. It happens because of something as advanced as a blood test.
– Such a blood test is relatively easy to analyze, but it is not something that is done routinely and hardly any offer becomes either. People who want to avoid HIV infection should rather have protected sex, it’s the best and safest way to avoid infection, says Professor and Chief Dag Kvale at the Department of Infection at Ullevål University Hospital.
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Can we thank Black Death?
However, what makes more Scandinavians better than others around the world better equipped with the HIV virus, on the other hand, does not agree. Some researchers claim that we can thank the Black Death for the favorable percentage, according to research.no.
Looking at how many people have the CCR5 mutation, it is quite coinciding with the number of deaths and the number of deaths being greatest due to the Black Death and other pest epidemics at the time.
Dag Kvale is not convinced that Black Death is the cause, even though he does not rule out it.
– If it is a context, we still need an understanding of the context, and it may in itself be a coincidence, emphasizes Kvale.
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New medicines with CCR5
Despite disagreements, research in the field has made it possible to develop new medicines. Recently this year, there was a new medicine on the market that is based on the knowledge of CCR5.
– The medicine is a so-called CCR5 block that works in the same way as those who double up the mutated receptor. “Kvale says that it is important for the continued development of HIV medicines, even if not Here and now, know if these medicines can give patients a negative effect.
In terms of HIV infection in general, the number of infected persons in Norway increases.
– We notice an increase in the number of newly discovered patients entering the hospital for follow-up, says Kvale.
Statistics from the National Institute of Public Health confirm this. Although a decrease in the number of infected persons from 2006 to 2007 saw the number of infected Norwegians a year much higher than at the turn of the millennium.
In 1999 a total of 147 people were HIV infected at home. In 2007, the total number was 248. Today, there are a total of 3787 infected Norwegians. Half are heterosexual, 30 percent are homosexuals and 14 percent are infected with drug abuse.
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