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Researchers completely eliminate HIV from the rat's body – 07/07/2019

Since it was discovered, HIV has moved thousands of doctors and scientists around the world to find a way to cure it. A study in the United States and published this month may be close to solving this mystery. It is a combination of genetic change techniques with antiretroviral treatment (ART).

This set of procedures, involved, was able to completely eliminate the virus from the body of five of the 13 host rats.

For this purpose, the CRISPR-Cas9 genetic editing technology was used, which theoretically can find a virus hidden in the body. In a more didactic way HIV has the ability to multiply in the human body and hide in genomes and "viral tanks", ready to appear at any moment.

Currently, TARV drugs are used to control an infection that itself can suppress its reproduction, but it does not eliminate it at once.

How was the test carried out?

  • To better respond to the need for an appropriate therapeutic strategy, scientists at the University of Nebraska, in collaboration with Temple University, have created Laser Art, a modified antiretroviral drug that slowly penetrates viral reservoirs, maintaining high drug levels in the body and after the HIV cycle;
  • In parallel, the CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technology was developed, which is able to eliminate pro-viral DNA fragments in the host genome;
  • One treatment, however, was not effective without the other – and when used together, it was possible to cure the infection in rats;
  • To ensure that the virus was cleared at one time, scientists introduced immune cells from cured mice to healthy animals without detecting any virus signal;
  • According to project mentor, Dr. Kamela Khalili, there is still a lot to do to reach people. In this way, the next step is to use primate, and in the course of a year, human patients.

Why is this test important?

According to UNAIDS, the UN program on AIDS, over 36.7 million people around the world are infected with HIV-1. In addition, over 5,000 contracts a day.

Although important, antiretroviral therapy is not effective. It limits only the viral infection, disrupting the stages of its life cycle, but not eliminating many proliferative copies in the host's genome.

In addition, this treatment also has several side effects, such as nausea, diarrhea, allergic reactions, haematological and renal changes, among others.

If this new technique turns out to be effective in the human body, ART will no longer be needed, providing patients with comfort on the way to healing.

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