Jul 22, 2019 | Updated: 09:15 AM EDT

Genetic Editing May Save HIV Patients

Jul 12, 2019 11:09 AM EDT

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Patients with HIV have always been told that their disease is not one with a cure, but this new technology in genetic editing may give them hope that something can be done to snip the virus away from the chromosomes that promise to bring a cure for the disease.

Scientists from the US showed the gene-editing technology they referred to as Crispr. It is so powerful that it can cut away viruses from the human cell. British experts have hailed this new technology as a "tremendously exciting" way to deal with diseases and their causes. 

The moment the HIV infects a cell in the human body, it imbeds a part of its DNA into the cell, which then hijacks into the cell's internal system so that when it pumps particles into the system, it pumps with it the virus making it spread faster than the usual virus that inhibits the body. 

One of the original developers of the Crispr technology, Dr. Kamel Khalili, is now working with a new team to show how the new development in genetic editing of the DNA can be removed to shut down the replication and eliminate the HIV from the cell. 

The treatment will begin with the use of the antiretroviral therapy (ART) to help suppress the virus. Then, genetic editing will begin. So far, the testing that has been conducted on rats and mice, but the team is looking into moving their research into primates as subjects. Further, they would like to carry out their research on for the first trial to humans. 

"Our study reveals that the treatment to suppress the replication of the HIV through genetic editing therapy can eliminate HIV from the cells and organs of animals that have been infected by it. When given sequentially, it can make it work," said Kamel Khalil. 

"The big message of this work is that collaboration needs to be made between the Crispr and the administration of the virus suppressant.altogether to be able to cure for the HIV infection, Khalil added. "We now have a clearer  path to move ahead with the primate testing and possibly commence clinical trials on humans."

Trials in the use of the genetic editing technology to cure patients with blood disorders like cancer, but this will be  the first time for the technique to be used to attack the HIV. 

"HIV is a very smart virus as it is able to imbed itself to the genetic code of the cells which activates the virus to spread through the human body," said Khalil. "Further trials need to be conducted to confirm the initial results of this study, but it provides hope that things could be better."

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