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Online Discussion: Tracking new emerging diseases and the next pandemic

Post Reply - Plague in Madagascar

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Topic - Plague in Madagascar
Posted: November 20 2017 at 1:55am By KiwiMum
I have been interested in the gene CCR5 - Delta 32 for some time. This gene is a mutation and holding one copy of it can confer a predisposition to recovery from the bubonic plague, and carrying two copies of this gene can indicate immunity from it. Interestingly, the presence of this gene can also indicate resistance from HIV and small pox. 

A lot of research has been done on this gene, and in particular two results caught my attention. One was done on the descendants of the inhabitants of the village of Eyam in England, a place that quarantined itself during the plague outbreak in the 17th century. What researchers found out was that descendants of people who had caught the plague but recovered, carried one copy of the Delta 32 gene, and descendants of people who hadn't caught the plague at all despite being surrounded by it, carried two copies of the gene. 

Secondly, some research was done on prostitutes in Africa, who despite servicing hundreds of men, many of whom were HIV positive, still hadn't contracted HIV. These women were found to carry 2 copies of the gene. 

I fully intend to get tested for the gene myself one day when I have some spare money floating around. My ancestors are all Welsh and Irish, so were true Celts and I have many antecedents who lived into their 90's so I'm hoping we might carry this gene. How exciting would that be?