Hope For HIV Cure As New Drug Is Successful In Mice

An HIV test done at a community health facility in Jakarta, Indonesia. Scientists are exploring a sequence of two treatments to cure HIV. PHOTO | AGENCY

By The EastAfrican

Could a cure for HIV be on the horizon? This is the question many are asking following new research that shows how a sequence of two treatments could completely remove the virus in mice.

The first treatment is a long-acting slow-effective release (Laser) form of antiretroviral therapy referred to simply as Laser ART. The second treatment involves the removal of viral DNA using a gene editing tool called CRISPR-Cas9. A combination of the two methods eliminated the virus from nine mice.

EXPERIMENT

Using 29 mice, a team of research combined gene-editing technology (CRISPR) and Laser ART to erase HIV DNA from the genomes of the animals in what they call an unprecedented study that was published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications.

“This is the first step towards showing, to my knowledge, that HIV is a curable disease,” said one of the study’s lead authors, Kamel Khalili, and the director of the Centre for Neurovirology and the Comprehensive NeuroAIDS Centre at Temple University’s Lewis Katz School of Medicine.

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