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The Plague: How Did One Village Survive? | Riddle Of The Plague Survivors | Timeline

The Plague: How Did One Village Survive? | Riddle Of The Plague Survivors | Timeline
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the plague how did one village survive riddle of the plague survivors timeline
it out in the meantime enjoy this video throughout the middle ages one disease haunted people above all others the black death moving with deadly speed it wiped out whole cities shattering europe killing an incredible 25 million people contact with the deadly disease meant certain death or so it was always believed until now in a remote english

village

a bizarre story has emerged which has thwarted scientists and historians alike here people managed to resist the deadly

plague

against all the
odds why did these people

survive

when others were dying all around them scientist stephen o'brien believes he may have cracked the mystery it's a little bit like a detective story when you get closer and closer to solving it and finding out what the answer is you become more and more excited and convinced that there is an answer and that you're going to get to it and his relentless detective work has revealed the answer to another great medical puzzle our chances of surviving the
deadliest disease of the 21st century in the autumn of 1347 twelve genoese galleys entered the harbor at messina sicily the ships contained a gruesome cargo vile smelling corpses strewed the deck the few that were still alive cried out in pain begging god to forgive them their sins the ships were ordered straight out of the harbour but it was too late a killer disease had escaped to shore within just 12 months it would have gutted the heart out of europe wiping out one third of the
population behind the deadly pestilence lay an invisible culprit the

plague

bacterium carried by fleas lurking in the fur of rats the deadly bug spread quickly to man where the rats went so did the disease along the trade routes of europe the black death swept relentlessly northwards by january it was in marseilles 60 percent of the population died by the spring it was in florence 75 died then it hit paris travel stories came back and letters came back about this terrible cataclysmic illness
that was decimating or decimating that was cutting swathes through the populations of other nations in other locations and so there was a sense in which um england for instance could watch it approaching them in september 1348 the first deadly cargo of disease arrived in england docking at southampton it quickly spread to london soon the ghastly signs of

plague

erupted across the city a soaring fever was followed by an outbreak of agonizing black oils in the armpits neck and groin giving the
disease its name the black death if the infection reached the lungs it turned into mnemonic

plague

making it possible for the disease to pass from person to person through the breath the victim had no hope death was inevitable today the bacteria no less deadly dr rick titball at porton down is only allowed to handle

plague

in a specially built isolation unit the

plague

bacterium is certainly one of the most dangerous bacteria that we know and often within two or three days exposed individuals
have died from pneumonic

plague

and the other problem is it carries a very high mortality rate it's almost 100 percent almost everybody who catches mnemonic

plague

will die the

plague

was so infectious and so deadly that medieval england saw it as a punishment from god but prayer and penance were useless the

plague

swept mercilessly on i think it's really hard for us to get a grip on what it meant for something between 60 and 75 percent of a locality to die medicine in the middle ages
and the renaissance was rudimentary there were no cures for diseases there were only attempts at warding off illness so fear of the

plague

is an absolute fear if you catch it you'll die the

plague

would continue its deadly visitations on and off for the next 300 years before mysteriously disappearing again at the height of the epidemic in england a strategy was devised to attempt to limit the spread of the disease quarantine you would be locked up for 40 days with the rest of your family
watchers would make sure you didn't escape padlocks would be locked on and if you needed it nurses would be provided to to tend to your cares to offer the necessaries of human life and this meant that the sick and the healthy were enclosed sometimes in deeply fetid circumstances for a long time it was effectively a death sentence after 40 days of exposure to the deadly pestilence nobody was expected to come out alive but what was the fate of those people locked into their

plague

-ridden homes

plague

historian justin champion found clues buried in the london archives which convinced him that there had in fact been

survivors

he compared the

plague

registers with burial records to see just how many people had actually died from the

plague

in each household his findings were to mark a turning point in

plague

research throughout london he found pockets of resistance the intriguing thing is clearly many many more people contracted the disease than died the the images of london at a
standstill grass growing up through cobblestones shows that there is widespread um illness if not widespread mortality immediately so we we have the imponderable problem of many people contracting the disease and a high proportion of them dying but also people who

survive

d having experienced that disease if some individuals had

survive

d quarantine what made them so special that they could resist the world's most infectious and deadly disease scientist dr stephen o'brien was determined
to find out as lab chief at the national institute of health in washington o'brien had dedicated himself to answering one question why some people were able to resist infectious diseases where others succumbed the mystery of the black death was the ultimate challenge i think all scientists like to make important discoveries and like to to learn new things but i think the ones who who really make the most critical advances are the ones who can't stand not to understand what happened in
order to investigate the mystery of the

plague

survivors

stephen o'brien needed to find a

plague

struck area where there were documented cases of people surviving quarantine eventually o'brien found what he was looking for eem

village

in derbyshire eem had a unique and extraordinary story behind it which made it the perfect place for o'brien to study hidden in the peak district away from the main trade routes of england eem might have escaped the

plague

had it not been for a parcel
of cloth in september 1665 when the

plague

had returned to london with a vengeance a package arrived in it was for the

village

tailor george vickers and contained cloth from a london warehouse little did he know as he hung the damp cloth up to dry that the fleas that jumped out carried deadly

plague

d bacteria in preparing it to lay it out uh is probably shaken and vickers the the the man who did the job uh was bitten and little red marks appeared on his hands and he didn't realize and nobody
would have told him in those days that the red marks on his wrists were fatal and that in a short time he'd be dead it was not long before other deaths followed and the

village

rs realized their fate the

plague

had come to eam the death toll began to soar because there's no medical help in the

village

there's no apothecary there's no nursing assistance the people were totally bewildered and the only person of course who really they could turn to was their rector and they called
on him for help the

village

rector was william mompesson he saw it once that eem was doomed but there was still a chance to prevent the

plague

from spreading to the neighboring areas he ordered an immediate quarantine of the

village

nobody was to be allowed in or out and when they first heard this the shock must have been terrible because they would realize immediately that if they accepted quarantine cut themselves off if they didn't die of

plague

they were likely to die of hunger now this
was solved by the devonshire of course we lived in chatsworth house just a few miles away and he agreed to supply as much food as it was possible it became one of the most dramatic stories of the

plague

years the food was delivered to a desolate spot on the boundary of the

village

marked by a stone in the hope that by isolating the surrounding

village

s would be spared the condemned

village

rs left what coins they had washed in vinegar to pay for it and the irony of that is that of course some of
these poor devils that died died with more food in their bellies than they'd ever had in so-called happier times the weeks passed then months it was assumed that eventually everyone in eem would die september 1666 one year after the

plague

had come to eat the first outsiders dared to venture into the

village

what would they find after the year of horror to their amazement they were met by

survivors

they told extraordinary tales of miraculous recovery which have passed into

village

folklore
joan plant is descended from one of those

survivors

she was brought up feeling that her

village

was special she met stephen o'brien and filled him in on the

village

history one tale tells of the

village

gravedigger who in his haste to bury the dead dragged a

plague

-stricken man from his bed while he was still warm presumably didn't know the difference between unconscious and dead i don't know but he dragged this chat down the stairs and halfway down the stairs this bloke revived and
the plague how did one village survive riddle of the plague survivors timeline
when he got to the bottom asked for a drink um and supposedly you know he was okay and he

survive

s even more notorious was the case of jones ancestor margaret blackwell in the final stages of the disease margaret staggered to the kitchen overcome by desperate thirst just hours after she had been left for dead by her brother francis she was quite delirious and didn't know where she was saw this milk jug on the table and just drank this with what she thought was milk and it was fat bacon fat
and she

survive

d the play she was a survivor and so that's quite a tale in itself in that maybe the bacon fat cured it i don't know but that's one of the stories were these fanciful tales or historical fact how many people really did

survive

the

plague

in eem local historian john clifford was determined to find out so we put it to the test and we analyzed the parish register which starts in 1630 and we listed everybody who appeared to be alive in 1665. we deleted those who died in
the

plague

and then we searched the register for evidence of

survivors

and we went as far as 1725 which was 60 years after the

plague

and we found evidence of people marrying people having further issue of dying and we picked out 433 um

survivors

this startling figure meant that even though they had been trapped with the deadly pestilence for over a year half of the

village

of eem had pulled through scientists struggled to make sense of it so many

village

rs

survive

d that some have questioned
whether it was in fact the

plague

that hit eem in 1665. could the black swords and raging thirst of the victims have had another sinister explanation in eem

village

in derbyshire stories have been passed down for centuries about the extraordinary resistance the people had to the world's most deadly disease

plague

but now there were question marks could it have been some other less virulent disease that hit this quiet rural community in 1665 there was one disease that showed remarkably
similar symptoms to the

plague

anthrax anthrax expert tony hart believes the two could easily have been confused anthrax is an infection that's transmitted from animals to man it then produces a a red lump which is very itchy and that red lump then graduates to becoming blisters and the blisters coalesce together to produce an ulcer and then on top of that there's a black scab hence anthrax meaning black could it have been not fleas but anthrax spores that were delivered to the

village

tailor george vickers in the parcel of cloth could the

village

rs have mistaken the two anthrax could have spread quickly on the farms of derbyshire unlike

plague

the anthrax blisters are rarely fatal to humans if it had been anthrax that hit eem then the mystery of the high survival rate would be solved there was only one way to put it to the test anthrax was deadly to sheep and cows so they would have been wiped out john clifford scoured

village

records to see if any animals had

survive

d
you'll find people leaving wills in which they refer to the way they wish to dispose of their livestock and then if you look at their inventories which were taken post

plague

and you'll find that they are listing considerable um holdings of farmstock if it was anthrax then the the earliest victims would have been the cattle with no evidence of dead cattle the anthrax theory had to be ruled out the accounts of black swellings on the body the fever and raging thirst of the victims left no
room for further doubt it could only have been

plague

d that hit eem in 1665. in london it was assumed that the squalor and overcrowding of the city streets played a role in the high death rate could the death rate have been lower in the countryside where living conditions were not so dense justin champion has studied the records of the london

plague

to see whether the cramped living conditions of the poor made them any more likely to succumb to the

plague

than their more affluent neighbours we
did that by using various computer techniques relational databases linking taxation records that gave us quite a precise description of the wealth of individual households throughout london and linking those to the burial registers so we could if you like plot the incidence of death both in terms of social status but also in terms of space across london so in in one sense we were making maps of death the results showed that poverty bad hygiene and overcrowding were irrelevant death hit everyone
equally eem's rural location with its comparatively spacious living is unlikely to have halted the spread of

plague

so what could explain the survival rate at eem records showed not just cases of bizarre recovery some people never got sick at all in spite of constant exposure to the

plague

bacteria one such case was elizabeth hancock the hancocks lived on the edge of the

village

and had managed to escape the infection for some months then in august 1666 the telltale boyles appeared on the
youngest hancock boy john within days his sister alice was stricken with the disease their mother elizabeth nursed them to no avail one by one elizabeth dragged her children's bodies to their burial spot on the hill behind their home in total she buried six of her children and her husband in the space of one week the graves of elizabeth's children are still on the hillside outside eem yet in spite of daily contact with the infectious bug elizabeth herself never contracted the

plague

even more extraordinary was the story of marshall howe howe was a chancer he appointed himself

village

gravedigger and would visit the homes of the dying helping himself to what valuables he could find before loading corpses onto his cart howe handled literally hundreds of infected corpses but he

survive

d the

plague

why did some people contract the disease and some not looking at those clusterings of death people did

survive

that environment and i think ultimately we have an imponderable
question that our data throws up why did some

survive

and ultimately i think we'd be forced into saying there was something biologically different about those groups that

survive

d stephen o'brien was curious to discover if there was indeed something biologically different about these people that was what he had come to in to find out one of the things that that is very common about studying infectious disease in in large populations is that different people have different outcomes not
everybody gets sick or not everybody dies and every disease is a little bit different and the explanation for that is is often assumed to be a nutrition or environment or native immunity but today we're beginning to discover that more and more of the differences in response particularly to infectious disease has to do with the genes the individuals carry around with them o'brien's hunch was that the

survivors

of eem might have been protected by their genetic makeup if they had these
genes might have been passed down through the generations in the graveyard in eem the descendants of the

survivors

of the

plague

lie buried the same names crop up again and again the hancocks the furnaces the blackwells most of the time i'm sitting at a desk joan plant showed stephen o'brien the graves that linked her family back to the

plague

years my maiden name is harley and my mum's name was furness so my ancestors are furnace family and they're just over here this is one of
my ancestors these are your great grandparents that's right there's the hancock grave elizabeth hancock and her husband albert and here are my uh direct ancestors george furnish and his wife emma and i am a descendant of the furnace family my mum was a furnace and my grandparents yeah both of these are my family grade well the in population is a is a fascinating opportunity to look at really what is a natural history experiment to understand the interaction between

plague

and genetic
resistance virtually everyone was exposed to the

plague

bacillus and a very high fraction of them died as a consequence the few

survivors

that emerged afterwards uh intermarried and left a legacy if you will of descendants and by looking at their genes we're wondering whether we can discover the gene that caused resistance to that

plague

the large number of descendants still living in eem were gold dust for o'brien but in order to put his genetic theory to the test he would first have to
persuade the

village

rs to take part in an extraordinary experiment the people of eem

village

in derbyshire had baffled historians and scientists by their uncanny resistance to the

plague

in 1665. geneticist stephen o'brien decided to put the

village

under the microscope to find out whether the answer to this mystery could be found in the genes of their descendants the

village

rs were asked to swab the inside of their cheeks to provide a sample of dna which could be analyzed to see whether
there was any evidence of protective genes there was one gene that o'brien had hopes for it was a mutant member of a family of genes that plays a key role in the body's defense against disease it was called delta 32 o'brien wanted to test it to see if it might protect against the

plague

eem is a wonderful opportunity to do it because like a xerox machine their gene frequencies have been replicated for several generations without a lot of infusion from outside so that we can look at
the plague how did one village survive riddle of the plague survivors timeline
the descendants of the of the bubonic

plague

survivors

and simply question whether or not this uh delta 32 mutation occurs in a remarkably high frequency the dna samples collected in eem were sent to university college london for processing if there was no gene present it would blow o'brien's theory out of the water but if it showed up the door would be open for an extraordinary new avenue of research the possibility that genes protected some people from the

plague

the samples were
analyzed by a london team headed by dr david goldstein let's imagine that in fact the the delta 32 mutation does confer some resistance to the

plague

we know that eem was hit very hard by the

plague

if we now have today available descendants of of of that population then if the delta 32 mutation conferred resistance some resistance to the

plague

then the descendants of this

village

should be enriched for that mutation because those individuals that had the mutation would be the ones that
would have

survive

d the eem experiment could only work if the

village

rs could prove they were direct descendants from the

survivors

of the

plague

o'brien met them to analyze their family trees well what we're curious about is to see whether or not the record of the

survivors

of the

plague

has been handed down in your genes joan you trace back here to the blackwells this is me here i'm a mom and dad it goes all the way back through the the barber family yeah to the blackwells right
the way through and thomas barber married hannah blackwell up to robert blackwell and ruth sellers and right the way back to the

survivors

of the

plague

francis blackwell and margaret blackwell blackwell's remarkable recovery from the

plague

was for centuries attributed to drinking bacon fat but was there a more scientific explanation john hancock is a direct descendant of elizabeth hancock whose husband and six of her children fell victim to the

plague

no explanation has ever been given for
why she alone managed to escape it could it have been genetic resistance if it was a gene that protected the people of eem from the

plague

how could it keep out such a deadly disease dr rick titball has been trying to find the answer to that question by exploring the way the

plague

bacteria attacks the cells of the human body we know that for many microorganisms which cause disease there's a very specific interaction between the microorganism and the host a gateway that allows entry of the
microorganism into host cells when the

plague

bacteria gets into the blood the body sends an army of white blood cells to destroy them but

plague

outwits the immune system it gets inside the white blood cells the very cells sent to kill it and hijacks them for its own ends it uses them to hitch a ride to the lymph nodes the center of the body's defense network here it breaks out and attacks the immune system giving the victim little chance of survival it was this takeover of the immune
system that made

plague

so uniquely destructive the theory was that a gene like delta 32 might block the crucial gateway into the human cells thereby blocking the

plague

bacteria from entering the body three weeks after the samples were collected at eem the first results were in there is clear evidence of delta 32. so these are the eam traces that you've got up here and that's 190 so how this works is that we focus in on a particular part of the gene and and here you see an individual
with two copies of the delta 32 mutation in total the gene was present in 14 of the eem descendants o'brien's hunch had paid off the delta 32 gene was clearly visible in eem but what was the significance of 14 and was it a legacy of the

plague

the only way to find out was to compare the eam results with other areas o'brien put together an international team of scientists to map the levels of the gene across the world as the results began to trickle in an extraordinary picture
emerged he looked at data from africa south america and the far east there was no delta 32. o'brien sensed that he was onto something big when you get a trail that you pick up you sniff at it like a bloodhound and as you get closer and closer you can almost taste the answer that's coming out and when we began to unravel the secrets behind delta 32 we became convinced there was an answer and i really wanted to be the person that was there when we find out what happened completing his
search for the gene worldwide o'brien made an exciting discovery the levels of the gene found at eem were only matched in other parts of europe along the roots of the black death like delta 32 are basically genetic mistakes which die out unless they give people a strong advantage in survival for the levels of the gene to be as high as they were across europe that advantage must have been stunning well by now we were absolutely convinced that delta 32 was extremely unusual that it had been
risen in european ancestors to a very high frequency very rapidly and the only explanation that fit all the data was some sort of raging infectious disease outbreak which could have killed off millions of people throughout the area where this event was taking place o'brien was now convinced that the raging infectious disease outbreak was the black death the geography of delta 32 matched the spread of the

plague

precisely but one further piece of the jigsaw remained the date if o'brien
and goldstein could pinpoint the exact date that the gene erupted so dramatically in europe that they could confirm whether it was caused by the

plague

extremely high the work took months as they devised a mathematical formula so i think we might be able to get an estimate of the age if we look at nearby markers and essentially see the nature of the association between the mutation and variation at nearby i think that'll work i'm just i'm a little worried about the variance but on
the other hand that would be that's going to give us information yeah that's absolutely right it's going to have a connection to time the basic uh o'brien and goldstein analyzed the samples from o'brien's worldwide effect database were able by looking at minute differences between the genes to back calculate the date of the original mutation they discovered that the gene exploded in the european population roughly 700 years ago just at the time the black death came to
europe the jigsaw was complete the date was spot on the mystery of those who had walked free from their

plague

ridden homes now had an explanation all the signs pointed to the mutant gene delta 32 to explain the mysterious mechanism that blocked the

plague

bacteria from entering the human cell but there was a further puzzle many at eem had totally resisted the

plague

but if the gene did block out the

plague

bacteria then why did some people get sick only to stage a remarkable recovery there was
an intriguing explanation elizabeth hancock had never contracted the

plague

even though she was constantly exposed to infection to completely block the lethal bacteria she must have had two copies of the protective gene one inherited from each of her parents but what happened to people who had only inherited one copy of the gene margaret blackwell actually contracted

plague

but recovered could it be that she had just one copy of delta 32 which enabled her to fight back and throw off the disease
it may be that individuals with one copy of delta 32 actually postpone the onset of death and in that meantime the armament of the immune system which has many different battalions if you will could be mounting an immune response sufficient to clear out the uh of the bacterium so that the individual actually

survive

s rather than dies the evidence was now overwhelming that this tiny genetic mistake called delta 32 protected generations of families from the

plague

but there was to be an even more
extraordinary twist in the story of delta 32. what life-saving legacy did these european

survivors

pass on to their descendants all the evidence showed that a rogue gene protected many of our european ancestors from the world's most deadly disease

plague

if it had then the

survivors

would have passed down in their bloodline a unique ability to fight disease could this gene be helping us to fight new infections there was one disease where scientists were beginning to see chilling parallels
with the black death the modern day scourge of aids san francisco 1980 more gay people than ever before spilled out onto the streets to celebrate their lifestyle people were no longer ashamed to be gay it was a time of euphoria among the crowd was steve crone there were more gay people there were uh there were more people because it was the baby boom generation and we had more of an opportunity to express ourselves part of that was very much a sexual expression so in that sense it was domestic
we had music we had disco we had drugs and we could dance all night and all day but doctors had already seen signs of a mysterious and shocking new disease that was affecting gay men dark purple blotches appeared on the skin the lymph nodes swelled something sinister had arrived steve crone was oblivious to the looming menace for him and his circle of friends the leisurely california afternoons need not be troubled by some obscure disease then his lover jerry got sick no one knew what it was
and it was an emotional nightmare because he was sick for 15 months and there was never a diagnosis so you had somebody who was um who went blind who would lost 30 pounds in weight who had a cytomegalovirus in their liver who had all kinds of horrific kinds of tests so there was a mystery of suddenly this person went from being 34 years old and totally vital and a gymnast and handsome and healthy and and then was suddenly like living with an 85 year old man you just keep maintaining this
positive picture of them as a healthy person until you finally turn a corner and to be honest i actually was an astrologist who told me he was going to die was never a doctor jerry died on march the 4th 1982 he was the fifth person in america to die of what was to become known as aids gay san francisco continued to party blissfully unaware that the disease was spread by a lethal virus crone watched in horror as it swept relentlessly through his circle of friends you can't really process
that many people dying all the time so if you're going to a funeral you know if somebody's dying every month or every every year there may be i would have lost over the course of that decade i lost about 70 to 80 people so you're talking about a lot of funerals and a lot of memorials and there was really nobody left over the last two decades there have been 18 million deaths from aids worldwide the culprit the hiv virus has become the biggest killer in the western world since the
black death like the

plague

aids devastated the immune system but like

plague

there was a mystery some people seemed better able to resist the virus than others o'brien was fascinated by the parallels comparing the two diseases o'brien discovered that the hiv virus was tricking the immune system just like the

plague

it was targeting exactly the same white blood cells the very cells sent to destroy it and hijacking them once inside the cell the virus could totally wipe out the body's
immune response the bacteria that causes

plague

specifically target precisely the same cells that hiv enters so those connections are indirect but they're very much similar to finding two very very similar kinds of murders occurring in a very small town in pennsylvania at the same time and us wondering whether or not the same person committed the murder the murder mystery might have remained unsolved if it were not for steve crone stunned by the loss of his lover and all his close friends
crone had assumed that it would only be a matter of time before he himself developed the disease his lifestyle had been no different from theirs why should he be special the only other experience you could find where all of your friends are dying around you of the same age would be if you were in the war and your platoon is wiped out the thought was that i would eventually get aids and die but remarkably krone did not get aids test after test showed the same result negative for hiv i was
mentioning this question of how was i to a family relative at some party and they said well why don't they test you then they study other children when you find that everybody in the family has a disease and this one child doesn't get the disease why they study that child why aren't they doing that with you and i thought see that sounds makes sense why aren't they studying me so it just sort of inspired me to make another round of phone calls to doctors and see if there were any
trials out there and there weren't i really did a lot of phone work there weren't any trials because there are numbers you can call hiv trial there was nobody studying hiv negative men and until i found bill paxton young switched on and determined to make his mark on the aids story paxton persuaded his lab chief at the aaron diamond aids research center in new york to let him try a new experiment his idea was to analyze the blood of people who were very high risk for hiv but had never
caught the disease to see if it could give any clues to how the virus worked he was looking for blood from people like steve the center had no study of people who were exposed to hiv but who had remained negative being in new york you knew those people were there i mean you met those people paxton took a sample from crohn's blood and bombarded it with hiv virus three thousand times the normal amount of hiv needed to infect a cell an amazing thing happened in spite of the massive dose of hiv
steve's cells did not become infected the red colors in the well indicate the amount of viral activity and as you see as you go across here these individuals have a viral production and then you come to steve cells there's white blood cells when you see there's no red those wells stay white suggesting there's no viral replication paxton assumed he had made a mistake we thought maybe we infected the culture with bacteria forever so we went back to steve but again it was the same
result we went back again again same result something was blocking the virus from getting into steve's cells but what was it if paxton could find out that he would have solved the biggest mystery of aids why some people were resistant to the disease looking at the dna paxton instantly saw something striking unlike people who were infected with hiv steve's cells had a blocking mechanism the virus simply couldn't enter the cell further tests confirmed this was caused by a mutant gene
it was delta 32 there was now a cast iron explanation for the fact that crone had never caught hiv it wasn't just luck it was the mutant gene delta 32 which had been passed down to him by his european ancestors i took it in a very uh cautious manner but it was also very exciting to be able to tell my family i may never be able to catch aids that was the that was like the first reaction i think for myself really to tell my nieces and nephews and my sisters that they would not have to go
through what i saw so many other families go through i think that was the greatest bonus o'brien was quick to pick up the baton he analyzed his own database of delta 32 and found results which stunned the scientific community all the people with one copy of delta 32 one-fifth of the population showed a delay in developing aids if they were infected with hiv but the data shows that one percent of people in britain and america almost three million people have two copies of the gene like
steve crone giving them virtually total resistance to aids and the explanation was really quite simple these people did not have the entry portal for hiv to get in and therefore even if they were exposed over and over they did not become infected and this was the first genetic restriction that had been discovered against an infectious disease in humans and it was a it was a whopper in unraveling the mystery of the

plague

survivors

o'brien had solved an even bigger puzzle it was clear that
the

survivors

of

plague

stricken europe had passed on a stunning legacy to their descendants protection from the most feared killer of our time aids understanding the role of delta 32 and protecting the body against the aids virus has opened up a whole new avenue of research into developing possible preventative cures o'brien's genetic detective work had paid off