HIV eradicated on mice thanks to the CRISPR-Cas9 technique

The replication of the HIV was stopped thanks to the CRISPR-Cas9 technique. © CC0 1.0

According to a study published on May 3, 2017 in Molecular Therapy, researchers succeeded in totally eliminating the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) on mice, thanks to the CRISPR-Cas9 technique, a technology that revolutionizes genetics.

Today, treatments to fight the virus responsible for aids only permitted to slow down its evolution in the organism. There is no possible cure. But thanks to the study carried out by researchers from the Temple and Pittsburgh universities (United States), a new step in the search for the ideal treatment has just been taken. In fact, according to scientists, the HIV was completely removed from the mice cells and was incapable of replicating itself.

Discovered in 2012 by the French woman Emmanuelle Charpentier and the American Jennifer Doudna, the edition technique of the CRISPR-Cas9 genome allows you to cut precise parts of the DNA thanks to the Cas9 enzyme and replace them with a healthy portion of DNA. This genetic revolution of the decade raises hopes for the development of numerous treatments, in particular for patients suffering from genetic diseases.

The researchers from the Lewis Katz School of Medicine of Temple university and the university of Pittsburgh are the first to demonstrate that the replication of the HIV can be stopped thanks to the CRISPR-Cas9 technique, kind of genetic scissors. The eradication tests of the HIV on humans will however not occur in the near future (it will probably be necessary to carry out tests on primates on which the virus is close to the one that strikes humans). Especially as the CRISPR technology entails new and still controversial ethical issues.

More information on the study published in “Molecular Therapy”

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