New Approach Proves Promising in Eradicating HIV from Cells

Kilian Melloy READ TIME: 1 MIN.

A new strategy using the gene-editing technique known as CRISPR-Cas shows promise for eliminating hard-to-reach viral reservoirs in the body, potentially curing HIV some day in the future.

"Working essentially as scissors, the technology can cut the DNA at certain points, allowing unwanted genes to be deleted, or new genetic material to be introduced into cells," UK newspaper the Independent reported.

Using CRISPR-Cas, "scientists were able target HIV DNA, removing all traces of the virus from infected cells," the newspaper detailed.

In a report on the technique, the scientific team specified that they intended to help create "an inclusive 'HIV cure for all' that can inactivate diverse HIV strains across various cellular contexts," and said that their "findings represent a pivotal advancement towards designing a cure strategy."

The team's study was "presented at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases," the Independent detailed.

But it's still in the early days; the writeup noted that any potential cure is not yet imminent, with the science team cautioning that "their work represents proof of concept" rather than a medical technique that's ready to deploy.

The "next steps involve optimizing the delivery route to target the majority of the HIV reservoir cells," the Independent relayed, with the scientists noting, "Only then can we consider clinical trials of 'cure' in humans to disable the HIV reservoir."

by Kilian Melloy , EDGE Staff Reporter

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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