Scientists have eliminated HIV in mice using CRISPR
An important breakthrough has been made in the eradication of AIDs. Scientists have found they can successfully snip out the HIV virus from mouse cells using CRISPR/Cas9 technology.
Right now patients with the deadly virus must use a toxic concoction of anti-retroviral medications to suppress the virus from replicating. However, CRISPR/Cas9 can be programmed to chop out any genetic code in the body with scissor-like precision, including all HIV-1 DNA within the body. And if you cut out the DNA, you stop the virus from being able to make copies of itself.
First published in the journal Molecular Therapy, the team is the first to show HIV can be completely annihilated from the body using CRISPR. And with impressive effect. After just one treatment, scientists were able to show the technique had successfully removed all traces of the infection within mouse organs and tissue.
However, it’s not a permanent solution and it’s still early days for the crew — the study merely builds on a previous proof-of-concept study they conducted last year and the technique has only been used on mice so far. But, should the scientists be able to replicate their findings, the technique could move to human trials in the future.
“The next stage would be to repeat the study in primates, a more suitable animal model where HIV infection induces disease, in order to further demonstrate elimination of HIV-1 DNA in latently infected T cells and other sanctuary sites for HIV-1, including brain cells,” said co-author of the study Dr. Khalili in a statement. “Our eventual goal is a clinical trial in human patients.”