US breakthrough research eliminates HIV from infected mice

July 8, 2019

The elimination of the HIV virus requires clearance and removal of infected DNA from cells and tissues but, current treatment can only suppress its replication. Antiretroviral therapy (ART) is then required to stall the virus’ spread – usually a lifelong process. Recently, US researchers from Temple University’s Lewis Katz School of Medicine, Philadelphia, and the Department of Pharmacology, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, have jointly discovered a new method to eliminate HIV from infected lab mice.

They used CRISPR-Cas9 technology and LASER ART to combat the virus. CRISPR-Cas9 is a breakthrough gene editing tool for treating or potentially curing genetic diseases by changing an organism’s genetic material. Meanwhile, long-acting, slow-effective-release antiviral therapy (LASER ART) keeps replication of the virus at low levels for longer time periods.

ART drugs were modified for a slow release across several weeks – targeting tissue in the spleen, bone marrow, and brain of the mice where clusters of inactive HIV cells were likely to accumulate. Then, the CRISPR-Cas9 was employed to remove the remaining infected cells from the mice. No side effects were observed from these treatments.

Kamel Khalili, Director of the Neurovirology Center at Temple University, said their observation shows – for the first time – that HIV is a curable disease.


Category: Features, Technology & Devices

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