AIDS will be Curable - New Research - Seeker's Thoughts

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AIDS will be Curable - New Research

Since the beginning of the epidemic, more than 70 million people have been infected with the HIV virus and about 35 million people have died of HIV. Scientists have eliminated the HIV virus in mice for the first time ever- and now they are hopeful their experimental methods will work on humans, too.

                credits - Fiercebiotech
Globally, 37 million people were living with HIV at the end of 2017. An estimated 0.8% (0.6-9%) of adults aged 5-49 years worldwide are living with HIV, although the burden of the epidemic countries to vary considerably between countries and regions.
The African region remains severely affected, with nearly 1 in every adult (4.1%) living with HIV and accounting for nearly two-thirds of the people living with HIV worldwide. According to the WHO’s data.

AID will be treatable according to the scientists
Yes, it is possible! Scientists cure HIV in mice for the first time!
Scientists have eliminated the HIV virus in mice for the first time ever- and now they are hopeful their experimental methods will work on humans, too.

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How it has been done?

A combination of gene editing and antiviral therapy, researchers at Temple University’s Lewis Katz school of medicine and the university of Nebraska Medical Centre eliminated the HIV virus in mice with “humanized” immune systems engineered to be susceptible to HIV.
Current HIV treatment uses antiretroviral therapy (ART), which suppresses HIV replication but does not eliminate the virus from the body. Art is not a cure for HIV and requires lifelong use.
                                                      picture credit- Quora

Researchers used a gene-editing system called CRISPR- Cas9 to remove large fragments of HIV DNA from infected cells, along with a new drug regimen called long-acting slow-effective releases (LASER) ART.
In this therapy, antiretroviral drugs are placed in nanocrystal that travels to tissues where HIV is likely to be lying dormant. The nanocrystals are stored within cells for weeks and slowly released the drugs.
Mice with HIV were first treated with LASER ART and then with gene editing. This approach eliminated HIV DNA from about one-third of the mice. However, research on animals may not produce the same results in humans.
Both CRISP-Cas9 and virus suppression through a method such as LASER ART, administered together, to produce a cure for HIV infection.
The big message of this work is that – Researchers have a clear path to move ahead to trials in non-human primates and possibly clinical trials in human patients within the year.
In other developments, a generic version of HIV-prevention drug Truvada – also called PrEP – will be available as early September 2020, the daily pill prevents HIV- positive takers from infecting their partners.

Let's understand about Gene Editing

Gene editing – gene editing or genome editing is the insertion, deletion or replacement of DNA at a specific site in the gene of an organism or cell. It is usually achieved in the using engineered nucleases also known as molecular scissors.

How does Gene Editing Works?
Genome editing techniques make use of certain proteins that can cut DNA in a precise, targeted location. 

Although this family or protein was discovered in the 1960s, it is only since around 2005 that the ability of some of them to make precisely targeted cuts at almost any position in the genome has been recognized and utilized by scientists.
Among the recent genome editing technologies, CRISPR-based methods are particularly promising to owe to their relative efficiency, low cost; and ease of use and the prospect of making edits at multiple sited in the genome in a single process.

What is CRISPR- Cas9?
CRISPR-Cas9 is a unique technology that enables geneticist and medical researchers to edit parts of the genome by removing, adding or altering sections of the DNA sequence.
It is currently the simplest, most versatile and precise method of genetic manipulation and is, therefore, causing a buzz in the science world.
How does it work?
The CRISPR-Cas9 system consists of two key molecules that introduce a change (mutation) into the DNA. These are:
An enzyme called Cas9. This acts as a pair of ‘molecular scissors’ that can cut the two strands of DNA at a specific location in the genome so that bits of DNA can be added or removed.
A piece of RNA called guide (gRNA). This consists of a small piece of pre-designated RNA sequence (about 20 bases long) located within a longer RNS scaffold. 

The scaffold part binds to DNA and the pre-designed sequence ‘guides’ Cas9 to the right part of the genome.  This makes sure that the Cas9 enzyme cuts at the right points in the genome.
The guide RNA is designed to find and bind to a specific sequence in the DNA. The guide RNA has RNA bases that are complementary to those of the target DNA sequence in the genome. This means that, at least in theory, the guide RNA will only bind to the target sequence and no other regions of the genome.
The Cas9 follows the guide RNA to the same location in the DNA sequence and makes a cut across both strands of the DNA.

At the stage, the cell recognizes that the DNA is damaged and tries to repair it.
Scientists can use the DNA repair machinery to introduce changes to one or more genes in the genome of a cell of interest.
What is HIV-AIDS?

HIV is a virus that attacks the immune system, which is our body’s natural defence against illness. The virus destroys a type of white blood cells in the immune system. AIDS is not a virus, but a set of symptoms covered by the HIV virus. 

The immune system gets too weak to fight the infections. In the last stage of HIV, the immune system collapses and an infected person can die even with minor infection as defence system of the body does not work at all. 

HIV needs more attention and awareness to get eliminated worldwide. Causes like Unprotected Sex, using the same Syringe while injecting drug, etc. should be known by the people that it may lead to AIDS. A person who suffers from HIV needs regular affordable treatment, care and more acceptance in the society. 

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