‘Indians are genetically not protected against AIDS’

April 25th, 2008 - 9:00 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 25 (IANS) Indians are more prone to HIV/AIDS as they are genetically not protected against the deadly disease, reveals a mega research by Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) that was unveiled Friday. The study about the genetic landscape of Indians found that a “known genetic protective marker against HIV is virtually absent in India”.

“It implies the absence of natural or genetic protection against HIV-AIDS in our country,” Shantanu Sengupta, a CSIR scientist, explained.

The gene variation called CCR-5 delta is absent among Indians. “Once a person gets infected with AIDS virus, this gene variation controls the disease’s progression, but Indians don’t have this benefit,” he said.

CSIR director general Sameer Brahmachari said the study was the largest scientific endeavour in the field of genetic landscaping.

Over 150 scientists from six CSIR laboratories across India generated information on over 4,000 genetic markers from over 1,000 biomedically important and pharmacogenetically relevant genes.

Brahmachari revealed another finding of the genome landscaping. “We have found that north Indians are prone to cardio-vascular diseases, and turning vegetarian cannot help the cause,” he said.

Said Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal: “The study would help in the construction of specific drug response and disease predisposition maps for the country.”

India is home to 2.5 million HIV/AIDS patients. Earlier, the HIV population figure was pegged at 5.2 million, but a review estimate last year reduced the figure by half.

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