Scientists eliminated HIV in entire genome of lab mice; clinicals for humans may start next year
In this decade, scientists have made serious progress in developing a cure for HIV, giving hope to millions of affected people. That hope is getting stronger as human clinical trials will start next year after a positive test on lab mice.
HIV expert from Nebraska and his gene-editing colleague from Philadelphia worked together for five years, and they finally have the result which they introduced to the public.
Their invention is a drug they named LASER ART that corners the virus, which is then obliterated by CRISPR Cas9 that can be described as gene-editing that finally destroys every trace of HIV. This technique is still in development as it worked on about a third of their test subjects.
Dr. Howard E Gendelman from the University of Nebraska revealed that when they got positive results, they thought that it was an error. Only after they repeated the procedure a few more times and got the same effect, they were sure they are on the right trail.
Thanks to a drug named ART (anti-retroviral therapy), the virus can be suppressed to the level that it becomes undetectable and can't be to transmitted. Still, ART is unable to kill the virus as it can't reach the hidden reservoirs, that are the core of HIV. LASER ART, which was developed by Dr. Gendelman needs to be taken only once a year.
On the other hand, Dr. Khalili developed CRISPR-Cas9, which eliminated the virus of about third of mice which produce human T cells that are a typical HIV infection targets.
Human clinical trials could start in summer 2020, but both scientists modestly see their progress as a proof of concept as they can only hope that this technique will work on humans. Still, they can't even estimate the earliest date when the cure for HIV will be available.