There is some optimism a cure for HIV might be in the pipeline after scientists in the US were able to completely remove HIV from a living animal using gene editing.
According to a study published in the journal Nature Communications researchers at Temple University in Pennsylvania and the University of Nebraska developed a two-step approach to eliminate the AIDS-causing virus from the genomes of the mice. The end result was that mice infected with HIV ended up virus-free after US researchers were able to remove it from their cells for the first time.
Over a third of the mice examined in the study had no signs of HIV DNA in their cells following the treatment.
Dr. Kamel Khalili, who led the research team at Temple University, said that the main takeaway from the study is that when the two methods are used together, they can be used “to produce a cure for HIV infection.”
“We now have a clear path to move ahead to trials in non-human primates and possibly clinical trials in human patients within the year,” Khalili said in a statement.
Over 35 million people have died around the world since the HIV/AIDS epidemic emerged in the 1980s.