Scientists have succeeded in editing HIV out of infected cells without apparently harming their ability to function. Publishing their findings in Scientific Reports, researchers used CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing to remove HIV DNA from latently infected CD4 cells that were drawn from HIV-positive individuals and then cultured.
During the gene editing process, a so-called guide RNA finds the HIV DNA in the genome of the immune cell. Then a nuclease enzyme snips the strands of CD4 cell DNA, editing out the HIV DNA sequence. The cell’s own repair machinery then stitches the loose DNA strands back together.
Looking at cell culture results, the researchers found that this treatment can suppress replication of the virus and greatly reduce viral load in cells.
After analyzing the genomes of treated cells, the investigators did not find any undesirable shifts in the cellular genes. The cells grew and functioned normally.
To read a press release about the study, click here.
To read the study, click here.