HIV cured in mice! A team of over 30 researches from Temple University and the University of Nebraska Medical Center has made an incredible breakthrough on the quest to cure the world of HIV. Using an antiviral drug and a tool called CRISPR, the researchers were able to eliminate the HIV virus from over nine of the 23 mice that were part of the experiment.
A cure for HIV for people afflicted with the virus has been more than elusive since scientitst first identified the virus in 1983, but with these results scientists are ever much more closer to finding cure.
Since the discovery of aids and the beginning of the epidemic, it’s estimated that HIV has killed over 39 million people. Present day it is now considered a livable disease with anti-retroviral therapy. This therapy however just keeps the virus in check, it does not cure it. Left uncheck the virus will quickly inhibit a persons ability to fight of sickness.
Before these results the team at Temple University had found a way to remove a large amount of the first but they were unable to completely cure the mice of the disease. “We knew what we needed to do, but the technology was unavailable,” says Dr Khalili about his team at Temple.
Joining forces with a team at the University of Nebraska Medical Centre, they were able to attack the problem from a different direction. The scientist combined the gene editing strategy with a drug that was designed to inhibit the progression of HIV. The results? HIV cured in mice!
Clinical trials could start as early as next year if approval can be garnered from the Food and Drug Administration however the scientist need to make sure that the techniques they are using are safe. “If you can reduce the amount of virus that’s left for CRISPR< the likelihood that the CRISPR will be effective will go up enormously,”.