Scientists have introduced new anti-HIV treatments – gene-editing therapy and new drugs. The combination of these two therapeutic methods creates an effective anti-HIV drug.
New treatment methods have been tested in mice by researchers from Temple University in Philadelphia and the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC). They have successfully managed to eliminate HIV from infected mice.
Kamel Khalili, co-author of the study and director of Temple’s neurovirology center and its neuroAIDS centers, said that HIV should be seen as a genetic disease, not an infectious disease because the viral genome was incorporated into the host genome. Therefore, a genetic strategy is needed to cure.
Gene-Editing Therapy – CRISPR-Cas9
The researchers included 29 mice in the study. A gene conditioning system called CRISPR-Cas9 was used. This system can combine HIV DNA from infected cells with long-acting antiretroviral therapy with low efficacy or LASER ART.
LASER ART – New Drug
The therapy contains antiretroviral slow-release anti-HIV drugs in nanocrystals, which then travel to tissues where HIV is lying idle. Nanocrystals remain in the cells for several weeks and are gradually released, reducing the frequency of antiretroviral drug administration.
The first step of the study in HIV infected mice was LASER ART. As a second step, researchers made the CRISPR gene editing stage. Nearly 40 percent of mice showed no signs of HIV after one to two doses of treatment.
Professor Khalili and his team will continue their studies on non-human primates and possibly clinical trials in human patients.
It is estimated that nearly 37 million people around the world are infected with HIV – the cause of AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). About 5,000 people are infected daily. According to the WHO, 39 million people have died of HIV since the beginning of the epidemic of 76.3 million who have been infected (roughly 52 percent). In the United States, estimated 692,790 Americans have died of HIV-related illnesses since the start of the epidemic in 1982.
Hopefully, Khalili will soon bring new news with positive results.
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