September 30, 2016 | Anjali Prashar-savoie

I've always imagined AIDS to be something we can't combat without drugs. However, a new study suggests that 1 in 10 children have an immune system that naturally stops HIV from turning into AIDS.

Researchers tested blood from 170 South African children who had HIV, hadn't received antiretroviral therapy, but had also not developed AIDS. This defence is almost unique to children. However, there is a risk of them developing AIDS as they become adults.

The scientists believe their discovery could be used to find ways of strengthening the immune systems of adults who have the disease.

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HIV structure

HIV destroys white blood cells, a vital part of the immune system.

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Image: Flickr/NIAID

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