Keywords

human immunodeficiency virus, HIV, C-C chemokine receptor 5, CCR5

Abstract

The human immunodeficiency virus, a retrovirus discovered in 1981, has reached pandemic status worldwide. Without an existing cure or vaccine, a majority of the world’s population remains at risk for infection and more than 35 million people to date have died from AIDS. Resistance to the virus, however, has been discovered in about 10% of the world’s population in the form of an allelic base pair deletion, located on C-C chemokine receptor 5. Those homozygous for the base pair deletion are resistant to HIV, while heterozygotes have displayed delayed onset of HIV infection. The CCR5 mutation and observed resistance to HIV in those with the base pair deletion represent exciting possibilities for the prevention and treatment of the virus. A new class of pharmaceuticals termed CCR5 antagonists, as well as CCR5-Δ32 allogenic stem cell transplantation, hold therapeutic promise not just for HIV but also other chemokine mediated inflammatory diseases, including multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer and autoimmune myocarditis.

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