How horrors of the plague made Europe safer from Aids scourge – Times Online

And, on a related note, a much earlier article explaining how the scourge of the Plague on Europe may have made its subsequent generations less susceptible to our own modern plague.

Scientific research now suggests, however, that the terrible suffering of our forebears means that a significant proportion of modern Europeans is resistant to Aids.

Research by two British biologists published in the Journal of Medical Genetics suggests that around 10 per cent of Europeans enjoy such protection as a direct result of the series of plagues that swept across the Continent from the Middle Ages onwards.

Biologists have known for some time that people carrying a particular genetic mutation, known as CCR5-delta32, remain free of the disease. The mutation prevents the HIV virus from entering the cells of the immune system.

It is also a continuing puzzle as to why the strains of HIV that have swept through Africa have made much less of an impression in Europe.

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