As the incidents of very serious debilitating diseases continue to mount, with the spread of the likes of HIV and AIDS widening, the research on a possible way to combat against them keep on marching; with recent turnouts in varying attempts showing some very promising results.
The Human Immunodeficiency Virus, also known as HIV, and its ever present effect, the Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, or AIDS, are among the most widespread of problems that target the human immune system directly. The virus is primarily transmitted through contact with bodily fluids, with semen and other genital excretions being the most common which gives the disease its sexually transmitted disease (STD) labelling.
The fact that the effects of AIDS directly target the human body’s defense system, eventually wearing it down, makes it highly dangerous at it opens up the body for other diseases to invade.
As one of the most dangerous afflictions on the human race, there is a substantial effort in studying ways to fight against the virus, with recent breakthroughs occurring like the discovery of the Temple University.
Reportedly, researchers from the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University have finally found a way to remove HIV DNA directly from infected cells. The researchers accomplished this by utilizing gene editing technology to successfully excise a segment of HIV-1 DNA from the genome of a living animal.
“In a proof-of-concept study, we show that our gene editing technology can be effectively delivered to many organs of two small animal models and excise large fragments of viral DNA from the host cell genome, said lead investigator Kamel Khalili, PhD.
Meanwhile another study is aiming for another angle in fighting the virus, this time targeting way the it transmits itself. Medical Xpress reported that researchers at the San Francisco VA Medical Center are looking into a way to stimulate the immune system to reactivate and destroy infected HIV cells, which will prevent the virus from spreading.
“It is important to strengthen the body’s defense system against the virus. This will help the antiretroviral drugs do their job,” said the study’s lead Dr. Peilin Li. “We want the immune system to recognize and kill the virus. By boosting immune response, the body will be able to kill cells in the latent HIV reservoir that are still capable of producing HIV.”
The method is only being looked at as a treatment however, where it can help those people feel better and improve their symptoms, but it cannot actually remove the virus and fully cure patients.