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 Words in the News
  Scientists have found that people with a tiny genetic mutation are twice as likely to catch HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, but will take much longer to develop the full blown disease. The mutation is more common in people of West African descent than those of European origin. Toby Murcott of the BBC's science staff reported.
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vaccine tray

16th November 2000

HIV genetic risk

 AudioListen to the first part of the report
  Over the last decade it has become increasingly apparent that a person's genetic makeup has a strong influence on the likelihood of them catching HIV. For example, some women in Kenya have been identified as genetically resistant to infection with the virus. This finding has led to the development of an experimental vaccine against HIV. This new research has identified a single mutation in one gene that doubles a person's chances of becoming infected with HIV, but at the same time greatly reduces the rate at which the infected person goes on to develop full blown AIDS. As with Kenyan HIV-resistant women, this discovery could lead to a way of tackling AIDS.
  AudioListen to the words

decade - a period of ten years

increasingly - more and more

genetic makeup - the way a person's genes are structured and arranged

resistant to - not harmed by

doubles a person's chances - makes it twice as likely (for a person to get infected with HIV)

full blown - if something is full blown, it shows all the characteristics typical of that thing

tackling - if you tackle something, you deal with it

NEWS 2  AudioListen to the second part of the report
  The researchers believe that a drug based on this gene might slow the progress of the disease. It might also help to explain some of the differences in the pattern of AIDS across the world. The researchers found that this mutation was present in about half the people of West African origin that they tested, whereas just one fifth of people of European descent tested had the mutated gene.
  AudioListen to the words

slow the progress of the disease - make the disease develop less quickly

pattern - if something happens repeatedly or regularly, you call it a pattern

was present - was there, was found. If you say something is present, you describe something that exists now

of European descent - when you talk about someone's descent, you mean their ethnic backround, their family origin


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