HIV is a viral infection that leads to AIDS and is fatal in almost all cases. For decades now, researchers have been trying to find a complete cure for this infection that affects 37 million people across the globe. The drugs used against HIV at present are all capable of slowing the progression and multiplication of the virus within the body but do not provide complete cure or eradication of the virus.
In a new study, over 30 researchers from Temple University and the University of Nebraska Medical Center, managed to eradicate the HIV virus from lab mice DNA and this could mean development of similar cure for HIV for humans, they believe. The team used a DNA editing tool called the CRISPR along with an antiviral drug. They performed their experiment in lab mice that had been modified so that their immune systems were more like humans. The therapy approach worked to eliminate the HIV in nine of 23 mice that had been “humanized”.
The team explained that till date the antiretroviral drugs used against HIV could keep the multiplication of the virus in the body under control. This control was seen only while the drugs were taken. Without constant medication, the virus multiplied and impairs the immunity of the patient causing the fatal AIDS. Despite the 36.7 million affected with HIV, only around 22 million actually receive antiretroviral therapy and 1 million died of the disease in 2017 says the latest report from the World Health Organization.