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I found this really interesting! Sorry if it's a bit long. [May. 29th, 2007|12:04 pm]
[Current Location |at work]
[mood |awakeawake]
[music |Mack The Knife]


Science Daily — Biologists at the University of Liverpool have discovered how the plagues of the Middle Ages have made around 10% of Europeans resistant to HIV.

Scientists have known for some time that these individuals carry a genetic mutation (known as CCR5-delta 32) that prevents the virus from entering the cells of the immune system but have been unable to account for the high levels of the gene in Scandinavia and relatively low levels in areas bordering the Mediterranean.

They have also been puzzled by the fact that HIV emerged only recently and could not have played a role in raising the frequency of the mutation to the high levels found in some Europeans today.

Professor Christopher Duncan and Dr Susan Scott from the University's School of Biological Sciences, whose research is published in the March edition of Journal of Medical Genetics, attribute the frequency of the CCR5-delta 32 mutation to its protection from another deadly viral disease, acting over a sustained period in bygone historic times.

Some scientists have suggested this disease could have been smallpox or even bubonic plague but bubonic plague is a bacterial disease rather than a virus and is not blocked by the CCR5-delta 32 mutation.

Professor Duncan commented: "The fact that the CCR5-delta 32 mutation is restricted to Europe suggests that the plagues of the Middle Ages played a big part in raising the frequency of the mutation. These plagues were also confined to Europe, persisted for more than 300 years and had a 100% case mortality."

Around 1900, historians spread the idea that the plagues of Europe were not a directly infectious disease but were outbreaks of bubonic plague, overturning an accepted belief that had stood for 550 years. Professor Duncan and Dr Scott illustrated in their book, Return of the Black Death (2004, Wiley), that this idea was incorrect and the plagues of Europe (1347-1660) were in fact a continuing series of epidemics of a lethal, viral, haemorrhagic fever that used the CCR5 as an entry port into the immune system.

Using computer modeling, they demonstrated how this disease provided the selection pressure that forced up the frequency of the mutation from 1 in 20,000 at the time of the Black Death to values today of 1 in 10.

Lethal, viral haemorrhagic fevers were recorded in the Nile valley from 1500 BC and were followed by the plagues of Mesopotamia (700-450BC), the plague of Athens (430BC), the plague of Justinian (AD541-700) and the plagues of the early Islamic empire (AD627-744). These continuing epidemics slowly raised the frequency from the original single mutation to about 1 in 20,000 in the 14th century simply by conferring protection from an otherwise certain death.

Professor Duncan added: "Haemorrhagic plague did not disappear after the Great Plague of London in 1665-66 but continued in Sweden, Copenhagen, Russia, Poland and Hungary until 1800. This maintenance of haemorrhagic plague provided continuing selection pressure on the CCR5-delta 32 mutation and explains why it occurs today at its highest frequency in Scandinavia and Russia."


And fake door. Funny stuff. :)

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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2007-05-30 08:59 pm (UTC)
*nod* I thought so.
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2007-05-30 09:00 pm (UTC)
Maybe a combination? I don't know. It sure is neat though!
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[User Picture]From: busterfriendly
2007-05-29 07:52 pm (UTC)
Oh wow, that was fascinating. Thanks for sharing!
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2007-05-30 09:03 pm (UTC)
You're welcome! :)

I thought it was pretty neato!
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[User Picture]From: frontdoorangel
2007-05-29 07:58 pm (UTC)
They did a run down of this theory on an episode of Secrets of The Dead on PBS. It was pretty cool, they tracked the life of this one gay man who had pretty much lost all of his lovers when AIDS first exploded in the late 70's early 80's. Just about everyone he knew contracted it BUT him and he was never able to find out why. They tracked his ancestry back to this tiny little hole in the wall town in the middle of nowhere England where the plague had wiped out something like 75% of the village when it ravaged England periodically during the 13th-18th centuries. They collected blood samples from the current residents and found the mutation CCR5-delta 32 in more than half of them.

It was neat. At one point they sent blood samples from this guy out to all these different labs and no matter how much his blood was exposed to HIV it never took.
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2007-05-30 09:09 pm (UTC)
That is SOOO cool! Oh my gosh. I must find this episode, I wonder if they ever replay it? Thank you so much for giving me more info on it, so neat!!!
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[User Picture]From: poop_on_a_stick
2007-05-30 12:42 am (UTC)
So if we all get a liiiittle bit of the plauge, we should be okay! Like a flu shot! >.>

'Cept... i only get the flu when i get the shot... That could backfire horribly.
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[User Picture]From: geminiwench
2007-05-30 05:03 am (UTC)

Alot more info

It seems that a greater number of the population is partly immune, they may contract and spread HIV but never develop AIDS or have a very slow onset of AIDS, whereas some people have a very FAST onset because they dont have several genetic mutations that protect certain populations.

Caucasians from europe who survived the plague are not the only ones... women in parts of Africa and China

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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2007-05-31 05:41 am (UTC)
It IS amazing! Thanks for the links!!! This is really neat!!
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From: sonoran_scrawl
2007-05-30 09:29 am (UTC)
that is very interesting. hey i hope all is well with you. peace, nancy
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2007-05-31 06:24 am (UTC)
Isn't it?

And things are good! How are you? :)
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[User Picture]From: lynphoenyx
2007-05-30 03:39 pm (UTC)
oh I wonder if they will be able to immitate that mutation for everyone else OR work with it to make a cure.
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2007-05-31 07:10 am (UTC)
They have to be studying it. Wouldn't that be cool? :)
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