HIV patients in India do not get dementia, say Bangalore scientist

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By K.G.Vasuki

Bangalore, Jan.30 : Studies conducted by Dr. Ranga Uday Kumar, a scientist from Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), here have revealed that HIV patients in India do not suffer from dementia due to genetics.

The observations made by Uday Kumar and his team will soon be published in reputed international medical and research journals.

In an exclusive interview to Asian News International on Monday, Dr Kumar said that the HIV viruses are classified into various sub-types. The virus found in Indians is of sub-type C.

"We, for the first time, demonstrated a very important difference in one of the viral proteins in sub-type C and we have proposed that this is the one which is leading to different clinical manifestation, so that is important in this work. So after our publication it's not that everybody started believing us but many people understood that now they can't dismiss subtype differences, there are strong circumstantial evidences to show that virus subtypes can have pathogenic properties," said Dr. Ranga Uday Kumar.

Dr. Kumar, however, said that it is the time factor that determines the end results of all their studies since observations of experiments conducted elsewhere in the world, under different parameters, have to be tallied and analysed before reaching any final conclusion.

"The most important thing to understand is that we know a lot about this American virus. Let's say: family B. All the medical literature 99 percent literature appears on sub-type B. But we have no clue about our own virus sub-type C so many lab is essentially working on this," said Dr. Kumar

"The other thing is American viruses cause only 10-12 percent global infections but subtype C virus actually causes nearly 60 percent of the global infections so the real virus is subtype C not subtype B, though both are HIV only," added Dr. Kumar while noting that there was still a big need of more publications to prove their hypothesis and bringing out a result.

"There are just two only publications so far from our group so unless more data emerge from other groups and other countries rather we don't know whether our hypothesis is really true or not because these kind of things need a few dozens of publication from various different regions. But having said this I know already that sub-type C is a very mellow down virus but it is killing people," he said.

Subtype C is not prone to dementia because the protein TAT that effects the brain cell undergoes a genetic change in India and results in lack of dementia.

The main purpose of the study was to find out whether there were similar differences between the pathogens. But due to the absence of animal model for experimentation in India they depended solely on the cell culture to solve the mystery.

Dr. Ranga Uday Kumar also mentioned that he and his team members have regular interaction with many researchers abroad such John Hopkins University and other institutions in the U.S., Brazil and Africa.

ANI

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