Researchers might be one step closer to finding the cure for HIV. A team of scientists used a gene editing technique to eliminate HIV from mice. CRISPR, the gene editing method, allowed researchers to cut different parts of DNA that were infected with HIV. This is the first time this method was used to eliminate HIV from mice.
CRISPR works just like a microscope that can cut parts of DNA that are unwanted. Gene engineering still raises controversy. For this research, scientists used 3 animal models. One of the models was “humanized”. In order to make the humanized model, the scientists injected HIV-infected human immune cells into the mice.
The researchers are very happy with the result. They were not expecting to see such great results. This new study is actually based on another research made by this team of scientists. The Temple University School team conducted a research last year where they managed to introduce HIV-1 infected DNA into rats. They used the same gene editing method to eliminate the tissue. This new research is special because it was performed on 3 different animal models.
Despite the fact that this study can lead to a cure for HIV, the medical community is skeptical. Health experts mentioned that it could take years of study and work before a safe and effective cure for HIV might be made. Now, there are only some drug treatments for HIV that can make the virus undetectable. This helps patients live healthier and longer lives.
A lot of researchers and scientists have dedicated their life to finding a cure for HIV. Until now, there was little progress. Maybe, with the help of gene editing, scientists can figure a way to cure this deadly disease. The problem is that not everybody agrees with CRISPR. Some people believe that gene editing is not ethical and that it can be used with bad intentions.
A cure for HIV could save the lives of thousands of people. A recent WHO report shows that more than 36.7 million people were living with HIV in 2015. Since the start of the HIV epidemic, more than 35 million people died. Let’s hope that these scientists continue their work and that they find the cure for HIV.
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