We test for genetic resistance to HIV.

Could you be immune to HIV? There is now a general consensus among scientists that a mutation present in 4-16% of people of European descent confers a resistance to HIV. Learn more on Wikipedia.

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About CRR5 Delta 32

Scientists have long known that there are certain individuals with a genetic variation that prevents HIV from entering their immune cells. These people are essentially immune to the most common forms of the virus that causes AIDS. Through a series of experiments scientists were able to locate a relatively common mutation in a gene known as CRR5 Delta 32. This variation is present in 4-16% of people of European descent, and is also present to a lesser extent in people of other ethnic backgrounds. In order to be fully immune, you need to be homozygous (carry two copies of the gene), but having a single copy of the gene does result in a partial resistance to HIV.

In 2007, a team of doctors in Germany performed a stem cell transplant on an HIV positive man named Timothy Ray Brown who also had leukemia. From the 60 matching donors, the doctors selected one that carried a homozygous copy of the gene mutation CRR5 Delta 32, which was believed by scientists to be conferring immunity to HIV.

After receiving the transplant, Timothy stopped taking his antiretroviral therapy. That was almost 5 years ago. Currently there is no detectable presence of HIV in Timothy's blood. Not only was he eventually cured of cancer, but also his HIV infection. He is now biologically immune to the virus for life.

Cheek Swab Test

We send you a kit that contains instructions for obtaining a cheek swab sample. Basically you rub a little brush against the inside of your cheek and then mail the brush to us. We culture your DNA from the cheek cells on the brush, and then test it specifically for the CRR5 Delta 32 variation. We do not test for anything else, and we dispose of all the samples immediately afterward. Once the results are in we email them to you. It's that simple.

Could you be immune to HIV? It's so easy to find out.

In the News

Los Angeles Times

"Berlin Patient, first person cured of HIV, may soon have company."

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ABC News

"CCR5 mutation -- a mutation that makes cells immune to the HIV virus."

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New York Times

"...naturally resistant to H.I.V. infection because they lack CCR5."

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NPR

"...bone marrow donor who is immune to HIV by virtue of a genetic mutation."

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Nature

"People who are homozygous for the Δ32 mutation have natural resistance to HIV."

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Scientific American

"Timothy Ray Brown has been cured of HIV while 30 million men and women..."

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Reasons to find out if you're immune.

  • HIV is one of the most serious modern epidemics. Wouldn't it be nice to know if you'll never have to worry about it ever again?
  • There is a down to side to everything. This gene mutation also makes you more susceptible to the West Nile virus, which is currently spreading in the United States. People who possess this gene are significantly overrepresented in serious cases of this illness.
  • Having this mutation is not just something that impacts your life, but the life of every person in your family. Should you come back positive, then more than likely you are passing on the genes that protected your ancestors against a similar epidemic.

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Still not convinced?
Check out this story on the CBS evening news.

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