A new study based on the genetic information from 150,000 people has discovered a rare mutation that prevents even obese people from developing type 2 diabetes, The New York Times reports.

The Amgen data study, which was funded by Pfizer and published in the journal Nature Genetics, has revealed that the mutation reduces a person’s risk of developing the disease by nearly two-thirds.

The mutation works by destroying a gene in the pancreas called ZnT8. Without this genetic information, people seem to make slightly more insulin and have slightly lower blood glucose levels than normal throughout their lives. This protects them from ever developing diabetes, even when they have high risk factors for the disease, such as smoking, obesity or cardiovascular issues.

Researchers say the findings could lead to new drugs that may be able to mimic the gene’s effect. However, experts estimate development for these compounds would take at least 10 to 20 years to hit commercial markets.

This news also is of great relevance to people with HIV because they have elevated rates of diabetes.

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