Shuffling of DNA in a single gene might be why the syphilis bacteria can evade the immune system. The change alters a protein on its cell surface to create a distraction. People can become re-infected several times with syphilis because they can’t develop immunity, Untreated syphilis can hide in the body for decades. Genomic findings on these evasive strategies may point to designs for vaccines to outwit syphilis’ defenses.
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