Killing HIV : CRISPR Gene Editing Method

Health constitutes a crucial part of everyone’s life, as without it. One can not perform any activity to the fullest. The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a virus that gradually attacks the immune system and in the long run develops, Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).

Consequently, the spread of this virus can lead to cancer and improper functioning of the system, leading to death. This is mainly because HIV virus destroys a certain type of white blood cells referred to as  CD4 cells and replicates them inside the virus, thereby making the body harder to fight back infections and diseases.

Around 36.7 million population of the entire world, presently are infected by HIV/ AIDS, according to the report issued by World Health Organisation (WHO). Thereby, making it one of the serious problems to tackle. In such a context the discovery of CRISPR Gene Editing technique gains attention and is of vital importance.

In a paper published in Nature: Scientific Reports, a team of researchers at Temple university have unraveled the key to detach HIV- 1 genome from an infected person by using CRISPR/ CAS9 gene editing method. This is made possible by allowing bacteria CRISPR to interact with viral DNA, which then makes the identical strand called RNA. RNA latches into a protein and goes in search of other infected viral strands. On finding them, the protein cuts the infected DNA, destroying it completely. The greatest advantage that the present study has achieved that it prevents reinfection. Hence, this works just like the way it works for Chickenpox.

The lead researcher Dr. Kamel Khalili said, “The findings are important on multiple levels,” in a press release. “They demonstrate the effectiveness of our gene editing system in eliminating HIV from the DNA of CD4 T-cells and, by introducing mutations into the viral genome, permanently inactivating its replication. Further, they show that the system can protect cells from reinfection and that the technology is safe for the cells, with no toxic effects.”

There has been only treatment no cure to HIV/ AIDS until recently. With the discovery of CRISPR Gene editing technique, it is to become a saviour to millions of people.

Shobith MAKAM Written by:

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