A step closer: Researchers eliminate HIV from DNA of infected mice

This can be the first step towards curing it in humans.

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  • Taking a step closer to the cure, researches have been successful in completely eliminating HIV from the DNA of infected mice.
  • It can be a promising step toward curing humans.
  • Nearly 37 million people living with the virus.

In a promising step forward, scientists have been successful in completely eliminating HIV from the DNA of infected mice. According to a study published in Nature Communications, this Tuesday, researchers from Temple University’s Lewis Katz School of Medicine and the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) have made this remarkable achievement.

They coupled genome editing technology with a slow-release virus suppression drug and completely eliminated HIV cells entirely from some infected mice. Current HIV treatment cannot completely discard or eliminate the virus but does suppress its replication.

How was the research carried out?

HIV

The researchers carried out the experiment on “humanized mice,” or rodents engineered to produce human T cells susceptible to HIV. They administered a treatment referred to as LASER ART, or long-acting, slow-effective release ART, successfully suppressing the infected cells from replicating.

The team modified the drug for a slow release across several weeks, targeting tissue in the spleen, bone marrow and brain where latent HIV reservoirs, or clusters of inactive HIV cells, were likely to occur.
They employed a gene editing tool called CRISPR-Cas9, to eliminate the remaining infective cells from the subject’s DNA. Speaking to an international reporting source, co-author of the report Kamel Khalili said that the process allowed the teams to “clean segments of the genome” and remove the HIV chromosome.
In the end, they successfully eliminated the virus from nine out of 23 mice.

A spark of hope:

Recent attempts have once again sparked hope. In March the second person had been effectively rid of HIV after a stem cell transplant successfully eliminated any trace of the virus from his blood.

The patients, who hailed from London and Berlin respectively, were treated with stem cell transplants from donors born with the CCR5 genetic mutation. It made them resistant to the virus.

Do you think scientists will be able to cure HIV in humans? Share your thoughts on the new development below.

 

 

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