Drug developed by gene editing could cure HIV/AIDS

In what could be a ground-breaking development in medical science, a team of researchers has developed a new vaccine using gene editing that can cure HIV-AIDS.

The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) attacks the body’s immune system and, if not treated, can lead to Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS).

HIV was first discovered in a type of chimpanzee in Central Africa and is believed to have jumped to humans as far back as the late 1800s.

The team has demonstrated initial success in neutralising the virus with a single vaccine developed by engineering-type B white blood cells that activate the immune system to produce HIV-neutralising antibodies.

B cells are a type of white blood cell responsible for generating antibodies against viruses, and bacteria and are formed in the bone marrow. When the engineered-type B cells encounter the virus, the virus stimulates and encourages them to divide.

The research was led by a team from the School of Neurobiology, Biochemistry, and Biophysics at The George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences in Tel Aviv University.

Israeli Dr Barzel explains that the researchers have been able to accurately introduce the antibodies into a desired site in the B cell genome.

Those who have been administered the treatment responded well and had high quantities of the desired antibody in their blood.

Researchers expect that over the coming years they will be able to produce medication for AIDS.

“Additionally, in this case, we have been able to accurately introduce the antibodies into a desired site in the B cell genome. All lab models that had been administered the treatment responded, and had high quantities of the desired antibody in their blood. We produced the antibody from the blood and made sure it was actually effective in neutralising the HIV virus in the lab dish,” Dr Barzel explained.

The findings of the study have been published in the journal Nature which details the antibodies as “safe, potent and scalable, which may be applicable not only to infectious diseases but also in the treatment of non-communicable conditions such as cancer and autoimmune disease.”

Source: DNA India

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