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Published in the journal of Science Translational Medicine, the virus was found to be unable to wipe out the immune system.
“These children have low immune activation, including less chemokine receptor CCR5 expression on central memory CD4 T cells, similar to sooty mangabeys infected with SIV. The immune mechanisms described in these patients shed light on HIV pathogenesis, which may help develop future treatments”, a summary of the study said.
The blood of 170 children from South Africa who had HIV, had never had antiretroviral therapy and yet had not developed Aids – were analysed by researchers.
Tens of thousands of human immunodeficiency viruses were found in every millilitre of their blood.
Ordinarily, their immune system should struggle to fight the infection, or make them seriously ill, but none of both scenarios happened.
The scientists were led to believe that the 10% of children whose immune systems cope with the virus have striking similarities to the way more than 40 non-human primate species cope with simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV).
SIVs are retroviruses able to infect at least 45 species of African non-human primates
Philip Goulder, a professor and one of the researchers from the University of Oxford, told the BBC that, “Waging war against the virus is in most cases the wrong thing to do.”
Goulder added: “Essentially, their immune system is ignoring the virus as far as possible. One of the things that comes out of this study is that HIV disease is not so much to do with HIV, but with the immune response to it.”
“Natural selection has worked in these cases, and the mechanism is very similar to the one in these kids that don’t progress,”
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