Updated 12:55 PM EST, Wed, Jan 26, 2022

HIV Cure Breakthrough: Temple University Scientists Completely Eliminate the Disease from Cultured Human Cells

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Scientists at the University of Temple have announced a breakthrough in the effort to find a cure for HIV and AIDS. Researchers say that they successfully completely removed HIV from cultured human cells, which they have declared a potential "game changer" in the search for a cure.

More specifically, according to The Blaze, Temple scientists were able to eliminate HIV-1 genes from cell cultures. The HIV-1 genes self-implant themselves into the DNA of an individual. That's how it infects its host. And according to researchers, a "proof of concept" now exists for reversing that process.

Temple's official statement describes the process as follows:

When deployed, a combination of a DNA-snipping enzyme called a nuclease and a targeting strand of RNA called a guide RNA (gRNA) hunt down the viral genome and excise the HIV-1 DNA. From there, the cell's gene repair machinery takes over, soldering the loose ends of the genome back together - resulting in virus-free cells.

In order to avoid accidentally removing part of the cultured cells' original DNA, Temple scientists chose gene sequences known to be unique only to the HIV-1 genome.

The director of Temple's Comprehensive NeuroAIDS Center, Dr. Kamel Khalili, stated, "It's an exciting discovery, but it's not yet ready to go into the clinic. It's a proof of concept that we're moving in the right direction."

Even though this recent development at Temple won't be able to cure anyone with HIV or AIDS any time soon, there is optimism that they are on the right track and that this research could eventually lead to a cure for the over 33 million people worldwide currently affected by HIV-1.

If cured, it would mean patients would no longer need to take their "life-long" regimen of antiretroviral prescription medication, reports Blaze.

HIV diagnoses have been reduced by more than 33% each year within the last 10 years, yet it is estimated that approximately 1.1 million Americans are still infected with the disease.

And even with the advancements in antiretroviral therapy, HIV and AIDS patients are still in danger of weakening heart muscles, bone disease, kidney disease and other health issues.

"These problems are often exacerbated by the toxic drugs that must be taken to control the virus," stated Dr. Khalili.

Looking ahead, Khalili and his team are attempting to arrive at a method for consistently delivering their potentially revolutionary therapy to every HIV-infected cell.

Another issue making matters more difficult is that the HIV-1 genome itself can mutate, meaning that treatment might have to be tailored for each patient in order for it to work.

"We want to eradicate every single copy of HIV-1 from the patient," says Khalili. "That will cure AIDS. I think this technology is the way we can do it."

Below is a video put out by Temple University discussing this potential breakthrough:

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