Gene Editing Strategy Eliminates HIV-1 Infection:
For the first time ever, scientists have shown how they can edit animal genes to shut down a HIV infection and then stop it from spreading further. The new study is the next step in the ongoing efforts to find a permanent cure for the disease.
During acute HIV infection, the cells replicate within the human body but are able to effectively conceal themselves in latent reservoirs – making them much harder to locate and treat.
But the new findings from Temple University and University of Pittsburgh, have shown that researchers are able to excise HIV DNA from the genomes, using gene-editing technology, and this causes the process of replication to stop.
Not only that but they can them eliminate infected cells, reducing the RNA expression of viral genes by roughly 60 to 95%.
The tool, known as CRISPR/Cas9 is the first to be used in this way, and was tested in three different animal models, including a ‘humanized’ model in mice where they were transplanted with human immune cells infected with the virus.
With this, the researchers were able to investigate the ability of CRISPR/Cas9 strategy to block viral replication and potentially prevent systemic infection.