HIV Completely Eliminated In Living Animals For First Time Ever Using 'Cut & Paste' Gene-Editing
Scientists have cured living animals of HIV using CRISPR gene-editing, a new study claims.
CRISPR-Cas9 (Clustered Regularly Inter-Spaced Palindromic Repeats) is a tool for making precise edits in DNA, discovered in bacteria. The technique involves a DNA cutting enzyme and a small tag which tells the enzyme where to cut. By editing this tag, scientists are able to target the enzyme to specific regions of DNA and make precise cuts, wherever they like.
The new research published this week stated that US scientists are able to show they could completely remove HIV DNA from human cells implanted into mice - preventing further infection.
Although mice were used, the results are so positive that primate testing will be next which, if successful, will further pave the way for human clinical trials.
- US scientists infected three groups of mice with HIV then tried to remove it
- One of the groups was infected with HIV-1, and one with EcoHIV (the mouse equivalent of HIV-1)
- The third was a 'humanized model' engrafted with human T-cells, which is where HIV tends to hide and avoid detection
- Using gene-editing, the team managed to eliminate the virus and prevent further infection
- They hope to now test primates as they move towards human clinical trials
We are hoping that there will still be funding for these studies and trials to move forward.
What great uplifting and positive news!