Infectious diseases like TB, HIV, and Hep C are difficult to combat. But the secret may lie in the same gene that keeps a person alive when they first begin to form in their mother’s womb. It is the same gene that tells our immune system when to turn on or off to fight a particular disease.

So what does this mean for the medical field? When it comes to diseases that overload the body’s immune system like HIV and many autoimmune disorders, this discovery can be a great step forward. Two doctors who headed the research just had their study published in November.

The gene that has been isolated has what may be considered the most important immune system task. It decides if a situations deserves an immune response or not. The wrong decision can have a seriously adverse effect on the body. Needless attacks result in autoimmune responses that injure the body. But failure to alert the immune system to legitimate threats can obviously result in great damage as well.

HIV and other diseases like it are so deadly because they have found ways to avoid the body’s immune response. This is a survival adaptation of the disease, but for the person infected it can be fatal. The idea behind the research done on this particular gene is that it can fight diseases with this type of amativeness.

The doctors are currently looking at the effect of turning this gene’s response on and off in the fight against certain disease. Seeing the results can help them to identify more fully the role that this gene plays in fighting disease as well as how to use it to overcome diseases that thus far have outwitted the human immune system.

The reason for all of the research is that this gene plays such a critical role. The doctors want to be certain of the effects a drug targeting its function would have on the body as a whole. If manipulating the gene fought one disease but compromised the immune system, it would still not help the patient in the long run. Because of this, any drugs involving the gene are still a number of years away. Despite this fact, it is still an exciting discovery.