HIV Eliminated From Living Animals For First Time

ABC News reports:

Researchers at Temple University’s School of Medicine and a team at the University of Nebraska Medical Center say they have, for the first time, eliminated the DNA of HIV-1, the virus responsible for AIDS, from the genomes of living animals.

The technique involves 2 new technologies: gene editing known as CRISPR and a therapy known as LASER ART, or long-acting slow-effective release anti-retroviral therapy. The Temple scientists have previously used CRISPR-Cas9 to remove HIV DNA from genomes containing the virus.

In mice and rats, they showed that gene editing large fragments of HIV DNA from infected cells could significantly suppress active infection and replication of the virus.

CBS News reports:

Dr. Kamel Khalili, who led the research team at Temple University, said that the main takeaway from the study is that when the two methods are used together, they can be used “to produce a cure for HIV infection.”

“We now have a clear path to move ahead to trials in non-human primates and possibly clinical trials in human patients within the year,” Khalili said in a statement. People who are infected with HIV have a high risk of developing AIDS, which leads to a progressive failure of the immune system.

There is currently no cure for HIV/AIDS, but recent research has shown that antiretroviral medication to suppress the virus can stop it from being sexually transmitted.