HIV Immune Responses are Random
New research shows the body's defenses against HIV are random rather than genetically determined, which may be why it's so difficult to develop an AIDS vaccine. The UCLA AIDS Institute study shows the immune systems in two HIV-positive identical twins responded to the infection in different ways.
In 1983, male twins were infected with HIV shortly after their births in Los Angeles by blood transfusions from the same donor at the same time. The twins have been exposed to the same environmental factors, yet their T-cell receptors reacted differently in each twin. Researchers say this shows the body's defense response is random and unpredictable.
"These boys are as similar as two humans can be, yet we see differences in how they fight the virus," says Paul Krogstad, Ph.D., study researcher and professor of pediatrics and pharmacology. "That's one more thing that makes it difficult to develop a vaccine for everyone."
UCLA researchers say the study results have broader implications and could apply to other viruses, such as hepatitis C and herpes viruses.