On July 2, Nature Communications published a study in which scientists eliminated HIV from the DNA of 30% of HIV-infected test mice. This accomplishment is a huge step forward for finding a cure for humans.
Massive strides have already been made in terms of addressing health issues that stem from HIV, including the accessibility to antiretroviral therapy (ART) which can make a person with HIV have an undetectable viral load and therefore make it so they cannot infect others. Additionally pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) medications can lower an HIV negative person’s chances of getting HIV through sex by 90% (more information about getting access to these medications can be found at Planned Parenthood). These medications, however, do not cure HIV and although extremely effective and lifesaving, have limitations. Limitations include that HIV can mutate and adapt to be resistant to ART and ART requires lifelong use.
More than 30 scientists worked on the study that through the combination of ART with CRISPR-Cas9, a gene editing technology, were able to eliminate the HIV from the genome of nine mice. In the study a LASER ART (a slow effective release form of ART) was used and then the CRISPR-Cas9 to completely rid about one third the infected mice of HIV.
Kamel Khalili, a lead scientist in the study and director for neurovirology and the Comprehensive NeuroAIDS Center at Temple University, said that clinical trials for the gene editing tool could begin next year, pending the Food and Drug Administration’s approval. He has also said, “This observation is the first step toward showing for the first time, to my knowledge, that HIV is a curable disease.”
Where is PrEP and ART available in your community? What else can we do to advance a cure to AIDS?
- According to the Norwegian energy consultancy DNV GL, 2019 will likely have been the historic peak of both global oil demand as well as carbon emissions, two years earlier than they previously projected. Read More »
- Seychelles has created 13 new Marine Protected Areas, expanding its protected areas to cover 30% of its waters, an area double the size of the island of Great Britain. Read More »
- In 2018, coal plants generated roughly 15% of the European nation's electricity. By May 2020, they contributed less than 2% of energy production. Now, seven of the nation's 15 remaining coal plants are shutting down for good. Read More »
- Last year, Amazon pledged to remove all single-use plastic from its packaging in India by June 2020. On June 27, 2020 it announced that it had indeed successfully fulfilled its pledge, replacing all bubble wrap with paper cushions, plastic tape with biodegradable paper tape, and more at its more than … Read More »