The reason is a very unique gene mutation that causes irreversible muscular dystrophy, but as a side effect, it provides immunity to AIDS. There are only a few families in the world that have this gene mutation, and among them, there is a Hungarian mother with her son. Below, you can find what she told Index about this unbelievably important milestone in the fight against AIDS.
Since HIV is one of the most-researched areas, scientists know exactly how they work and which albumin helps them to multiply and cause the disease. Therefore, these are the targets of scientific research; if they were switched off, the virus could not harm anybody, Index reported.
Simply deactivating them, however, can cause much more trouble than HIV, but natural mutations of these cell parts could be a solution for the whole problem. The mutation resulting in resistance against HIV is called
limb-girdle muscular dystrophy type 1F,
which is extremely rare but hereditary, and apart from two Hungarians (a mother and her child) there is only a Spanish-Italian family in the world where the mutant gene was detected.
Gabriella Csuhai said to Index that one of her sons, who is 14 years old, inherited this special kind of muscular dystrophy, and the doctors did not know until 2016 what their exact problem was. The disease causes death in the long run since, after a while, it damages the muscles of the respiratory system, causing asphyxia. Nobody knows what the causes are but this kind of disease
gets worse with every new generation,
and eventually, the patients cannot climb stairs.
Since the whole disease was only discovered in the ’90s, decades passed until Gabriella and her son learned what their illness was. Endre Pál from the University of Pécs offered it to them in 2010 to take part in an international research program, and thanks to that, their genome was mapped in Canada. This is how the mutation was finally found in 2016. There is no known link yet between the Hungarian and the Spanish-Italian family.
Gabriella says that now that she knows what disease she was struggling with her whole life, she feels safer because she learned that they are not alone in their fight. However, her son’s state got worse drastically in 2017, and that is why she got in touch with their Spanish-Italian fellow sufferers. In that family, the disease is much more widespread. So, thanks to community fundraising, they were paying for research concerning the issue. Finally, scientists of the Carlos III Health Institute discovered that the gene mutation of this rare kind of muscular dystrophy
results in resistance against HIV
because it changes the structure of the albumin that brings the virus into the leucocytes so the virus cannot multiply in the cells.
This is the second gene mutation that causes resistance against AIDS. Of course, the discovery in itself does not mean that scientists found a treatment for AIDS, but it can become
a milestone in the research for finding proper treatment.
José Alcamí, leader of the research, said that the discovery may even help those suffering from this rare muscular dystrophy because if scientists can understand the mechanism of the mutant albumin, they can modify it and cure the patients.
Gabriella said that when she met some members of the Spanish-Italian family, she learned that they not only have the same symptoms, but they also think about their rare disease likewise. This gave strength to her, and she is optimistic about the future because research already started, and she hopes that finally, scientists can offer them a cure.
We wrote HERE about the fact that there are about 2,000-2,200 people in Hungary who have tested HIV positive, while an estimated 3,000-4,000 could be infected but unaware of their state. If you want to read about a Hungarian surgeon who hid his HIV in Britain and therefore, 400 patients had to be tested, click HERE.