There is a first time for everything, but this particular achievement would definitely be of interest to many – it seems that scientists have managed to ‘delete’ the HIV virus from human cells, paving the way for a possible cure for HIV and AIDS patients.
How was this made possible? Well, the scientists in labs made use of a DNA-snipping enzyme that is known as Cas9 in order to cut out the virus. This would cause the cell’s gene repair machinery to kick in, helping bring together the loose ends of the genome, which ends up with a virus-free cell. Such a process also has the potential for curing different latent infections according to researchers.
It used to be conventional thinking that the moment HIV conquers a human cell, it will remain there indefinitely, resulting in the patient to rely on medical treatment for the rest of their life. This research team from the Temple University School of Medicine claims that such a breakthrough would signal the first successful attempt in order to remove the latent HIV-1 virus from human cells. A 20-nucleotide strand of gRNA will have the HIV-1 DNA in its sights, and when paired with a DNA-sniping enzyme that is known as Cas9 which was mentioned earlier, it will edit the human genome.
Dr. Khalili said, “Since HIV-1 is never cleared by the immune system, removal of the virus is required in order to cure the disease.” It looks like there is light at the end of the tunnel after all.
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