Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) presented a complex knot for scientists to unravel. The genetic material of HIV lodges itself in the genome of its host and the antiviral therapies can suppress HIV, but they do not remove the integrated virus.
Since HIV-1 is never cleared by the immune system, removal of the virus is required in order to cure the disease.
Now, in an exciting discovery, researchers at Temple University School of Medicine have found a way to eliminate latent HIV-1 virus from human cells. The researchers have designed a way to snip out the integrated HIV-1 genes.
How they managed to do this
The scientists developed a molecular tool that could hunt down HIV-1’s genetic material and snip it out of human cells. Once the viral DNA was removed, the cells were able to repair themselves and put loose ends of the genome back together. The result would be virus-free cells.
There is no doubt this is an important step on the path toward a permanent cure for AIDS. This approach could be a cure for other latent infections as well.