Lab experiment suggests CRISPR may cure HIV by disabling it

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  • 2 months ago

A recent lab experiment using the gene-editing technique CRISPR has shown promising results in disabling dormant HIV in immune cells, raising hopes for a potential cure in the future. The study, conducted by researcher Elena Herrera Carrillo at the University of Amsterdam, demonstrated that the CRISPR system was able to eliminate all traces of the virus from immune cells in a dish.

HIV, once considered a fatal infection, can now be managed with medication that prevents the virus from replicating. However, the dormant virus hidden in immune cells can become active again if treatment is stopped, leading to a resurgence of the infection. Finding a way to eliminate this dormant virus is crucial for developing a cure for HIV.

CRISPR, a genetic tool that can make precise cuts in DNA, has shown promise in targeting and disabling the dormant virus in immune cells. While the results of this study are encouraging, further research is needed to confirm the effectiveness of this approach in animals and eventually in human trials.

Jonathan Stoye at the Francis Crick Institute in London emphasizes the importance of testing this treatment in different types of immune cells, including those in the bone marrow, where dormant HIV may reside. He also highlights the need to explore potential reservoirs of the virus in other parts of the body.

Excision BioTherapeutics, a company based in California, has previously demonstrated the effectiveness of a CRISPR-based approach in reducing dormant virus levels in monkeys infected with a similar virus to HIV. These findings suggest that CRISPR could be a promising tool in the quest for a cure for HIV infection.

Overall, while the results of this study are promising, more research and clinical trials are needed to determine the safety and efficacy of using CRISPR to target dormant HIV in immune cells. The potential for a cure for HIV remains a goal worth pursuing, but there are still many challenges to overcome in achieving this outcome.


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