Gene discovery by Canadian researchers ‘major breakthrough’ in HIV research: PHAC


Gifted One
Staff member
Apr 16, 2021
Perched on a rock in Canada
A specific gene may explain why some people have naturally lower viral loads of HIV, which slows down the virus from replicating and transmitting, according to research from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC).

Published Wednesday in Nature, PHAC researchers along with international partners, found the genetic variants that impact a human gene called CHD1L, which restricts HIV replication.

"This is the first new genetic variant discovered in nearly 30 years of HIV research. It is a major breakthrough in our understanding of the virus and may lead to new HIV treatment and prevention strategies," PHAC stated in a release.

In order to find this gene, the researchers examined the genetics of close to 4,000 people around the world living with HIV who are of African ancestries — a key population that is disproportionately affected by HIV — and provided informed consent to study how their genetic background influenced their response to the virus.

The scientists found CHD1L and believe this gene has a role to play in limiting viral replication. This means that the virus is unable to replicate as quickly or efficiently in people who carry specific genetic variants compared to others who do not.

More research is required to fully understand exactly how this gene is limiting viral replication, the researchers stated.

"This important discovery will help scientists target their efforts to discover new medical interventions for HIV, PHAC stated. "It can pave the way for the development of new prevention and treatment strategies."

HIV is a sexually transmitted and blood-borne infection that attacks the body's immune system, specifically T cells, which play a crucial role in fighting off infections and diseases.

If left untreated, the virus can weaken the immune system over time, making the infected person more susceptible to various infections and illnesses. If the immune system becomes severely compromised, the condition progresses to Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS), which is the late stage of HIV infection.

Although there is no cure for HIV, tremendous progress has been made in managing the virus with antiretroviral therapy (ART).

In 2020, an estimated 1,520 new HIV infections occurred in Canada, a slight decrease from the estimate for 2018, according to PHAC.

This is a terrible disease, think of our loved Freddy Mercury, it got him.
We/the scientist need to tackle this and control it better.
Yes but cancer is a more insidious class of diseases that should be at the head of the list for scientific study. I know HIV is a horrible disease. I had some one very close who died from it. But I've had many other very close family and friends who've suffered from, been disfigured by and succumb to cancer in it's many forms.

I must be honest that I do not trust Big Pharma to ever cure or substantially eliminate cancer. It's better to find treatments than to find effective cures or detection and prevention. Big Pharma has only self interest in mind and their bottom line/brimming coffers. It's a disgusting disgrace. When I see helpless little children or anyone for that matter suffering chemo/radio/surgical treatments with all the damage those can do to the victims I think about how rich the pharmaceutical companies got off of each one of the victims.

Let's hope for better days.
We all hope for that Merlin and we/they are getting closer all the time.
I lost my husband 5 years ago to bowel & bladder cancer, he was dead within 4 months of the diagnosis... I'm sad and angry in equal measure, I was never told his was fatal, I thought he could have treatment.... my anger still bubbles up, but my sadness is always there along with the tears.