HIV Elimination in Mice


Tyreece Tarrant Patane, Staff Writer

On Monday, May 1st, 2017, at Temple University, a state public doctoral university, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, have made researchers to come up with a gene editing technique to take out HIV DNA from the genetic code of mice, so that it could strengthen the hope that this infection can be cured. 

The work, was also done with the University of Pittsburgh,  a state-related research university located in Pittsburgh, Penn, whereas the scientists and the published in the journal Molecular Therapy, where they both had  several years of Temple experiments that originally showed the AIDS virus could be cut from cells in lab dishes.

A stable cure for HIV has been subtle because of the virus which can maintain a simmering source of infection in certain cells. Antiviral drugs, are drugs that suppress reproduction so that only a tiny of minority of immune cells have the infection. Although there is a downfall, where as if the drugs are stopped, then the suppressed virus can break out and continue its deadly course.

This new study is the first to prove that HIV reproduction can be shut down and that the virus can be eliminated from animal cells by using the gene editing technology, called CRISPR. It combines with a synthetic “guide RNA” . This is a genetic analogue of the search function in a word processor with an enzyme that acts like a molecular scissors. This cut’s out The DNA and RNA to replace it with new ones to stop the HIV infection.

Kamel Khalili, the co-led and the director of Temple’s center for neurovirology, has successfully used the gene editing strategy in two mouse models, and told CBS News that, “Over our years of research, all of this was frankly a big surprise. I never thought that this CRISPR system was going to be working out so beautifully with such efficiency and precision when it first came onto the scene,”

The next step for Khalili, would be to repeat the study in primates such as monkeys, in order to start the process for curing humans.

Since, CRISPR technology is nearly six years old, it has not been used in humans. Last year, a federal advisory panel approved a University of Pennsylvania proposal to use CRISPR to engineer immune cells to fight certain types of cancer, but the trial must still be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

As Khalili and his group of scientists gets closer to finding the cure of HIV, we might as well be prepared for any type of given news of results of bad or good. For there could be a time where we as the people could walk free from HIV due to our great scientist, such as Kamel Khalili.