Unmasking HIV's "Master Manipulator"

Remarkable research explains how a devilish gene lets the virus deceive the immune system and suggests new ways to fight back

It's made up of just a few genes wrapped in a protein-sugar coat. But the virus that causes AIDS has proved to be diabolically clever. Not only has it managed to stay a step ahead of the best drugs scientists can devise but it also has evolved to thwart one of nature's most remarkable and complex accomplishments, the human immune system. While most invading microbes quickly succumb to the mighty assault of antibodies and killer cells unleashed by the immune system, HIV just seems to shrug it all off.

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