This one looks promising. Although all the others have, as well. And truthfully, none of the research has been wasted, even though the disease is not cured. I think that after 35 years of this horrible disease, there is finally a silver lining beginning to emerge. The information we gain from HIV research is going to reap rewards far beyond its original intent, and have huge benefits for us all down the road.
When deployed, a combination of a DNA-snipping enzyme called a nuclease and a targeting strand of RNA called a guide RNA (gRNA) hunt down the viral genome and remove the HIV-1 DNA.
From there, the cell’s gene repair machinery takes over, soldering the loose ends of the genome back together – resulting in virus-free cells.
‘Since HIV-1 is never cleared by the immune system, removal of the virus is required in order to cure the disease,’ explained Dr Khalili.
These molecular tools also hold promise as a therapeutic vaccine; cells armed with the nuclease-RNA combination proved impervious to HIV infection.