Scientists for the First Time Have Completely Removed HIV from Infected Mice and Humans Are Next
9The new method seeks out HIV sanctuaries in the body
The new study shows how both LASER antiretroviral therapy moves in on all the sanctuaries of the virus and feeds it with drugs that will suppress its ability to replicate. This buys time for the gene editing which effectively removes the virus cells.
LASER therapy buys time for gene editing and differs from the regular antiretroviral therapy because of the different chemistry of the drugs which require to be administered in lesser doses. They also last longer. In the therapy, the drugs form nanocrystals that make it easier for them to enter tissues that house HIV cells lying dormant and hidden. Once they get inside the HIV cells, they start releasing the payload gradually over several weeks.
10The results were promising
Professor Khalil also described how the new research was conducted to see whether LASER [antiretroviral therapy] could suppress HIV replication long enough for CRISPR-Cas9 to completely rid cells of viral DNA.”
The new approach was tested using mice containing human T cells which could contract HIV. It is the human T cells where the virus could also become dormant after the conventional antiretroviral therapy. The mice then underwent the LASER antiretroviral therapy after which they also underwent the CRSIPR gene editing method. The amount of HIV was then examined and it was found after several tests that the HIV DNA did not exist in one-third of the rodents.
11HIV can be effectively eliminated from the body
Professor Khalil said, “Our study shows that treatment to suppress HIV replication and gene editing therapy, when given sequentially, can eliminate HIV from cells and organs of infected animals.”We now have a clear path to move ahead to trials in nonhuman primates and possibly clinical trials in human patients within the year.”
12WHO statistics in HIV
According to the World Health Organization, 37 million people have HIV and this can develop in AIDS. But medical technology has come a long way and 2019 has seen much advancement so far in HIV treatment where about two patients have been cured within a week in March. One 35-year-old woman has also become the first kidney donor who is HIV positive.
13A new HIV drug will be available in 2020
In further developments in the fight against HIV, a drug called PrEP which is a generic form of the drug Truvada that prevents HIV will be made available to patients in 2020 as stated by the manufacturer Gilead Sciences. The pill which is a daily one plays an important role in the spread of HIV because it prevents those with HIV from infecting their partners. The only problem is that the drug is going to be extremely expensive and cost between 1600$ to 2000$ for a month’s supply. In other countries, it may cost as low as 70$.