Scientists for the First Time Have Completely Removed HIV from Infected Mice and Humans Are Next
5HIV can hide in a dormant state
UNSAIDS ‘recent worldwide statistics of AIDS in 2017 said that almost 36.9 million people were living with HIV and in the same year 1.8 million contracted the virus. HIV usually spreads from person to person through infected bodily fluids and it slowly weakens the immunity by attacking immune cells and replicating as virus cells inside them.
6HIV infected people should seek treatment immediately
If a person is infected with HIV and does not receive treatment, they have a huge risk of developing AIDS which is an advanced stage of damage to the immune system. Those afflicted with AIDS have a survival rate of less than 3 years with no treatment. HIV attacks typical white blood cells which are called CD4, or T Helper cells that regulate the immune system in a body and how it responds to infection. The virus takes over the cell DNA by fusing with it and then it forces the same fused cells to replicate as HIV cells. Once the copies are ready, they are released into the blood from where they travel throughout the body to infect other cells in parts of the body and the same replication process is continued again.
7Antiretroviral therapy can stop but not kill HIV
The antiretroviral therapy only halts HIC from progressing further but it doesn’t kill the virus. It targets the virus in different stages of progression. The therapy combines different drugs to stop HIV. Those who receive the antiretroviral therapy can live longer lives but the HIV is still in the body so the drugs have to be taken lifelong top prevent the condition of AIDS.
8What happens if you stop antiretroviral therapy
By stopping the antiretroviral therapy, there can easily be flare-ups of the virus which will then continue its full lifecycle. This happens because the genetic material of the virus is embedded into the infected immune cells. This means that it can hide in the immune system in places that are inaccessible by the therapy.
In 2017, Professor Khalil also explained how the gene editing method CRISPR Cas9 could easily remove the genetic material from the DNA infected cells and reduce the impact of the virus on the body. But, he also explained that gene editing itself does not completely remove all traces of HIV.