The most advanced drugs for HIV available today stop the virus from replicating, which prevents patients from developing AIDS. With that said, there is no actual cure for HIV.
Now, a team of scientists has managed to clear HIV from infected mice using the CRISPR gene-editing technology in what may be the first time the virus has been eliminated from the genomes of living animals.
The virus is currently treated with antiretroviral therapy (ART), which can suppress HIV replication but can’t eliminate every trace of the disease. The new study used both ART and CRISPR gene-editing technology, managing to destroy the virus. The researchers said they used the two treatments concurrently. First, they administered the LASER ART to reduce HIV growth, then they used the CRISPR treatment as “chemical scissors” to “eliminate the residual integrated HIV DNA still present,”.
While there is still much work needed before scientists come up with a cure suitable for humans, the findings offer a glimpse into how it might actually be done.