A groundbreaking discovery in HIV research has been announced by Temple University School of Medicine. A team of researchers have designed a way to eliminate the HIV-1 virus from human cells.
“This is one important step on the path toward a permanent cure for AIDS…It’s an exciting discovery, but it’s not yet ready to go to the clinic. It’s a proof of concept that we’re moving in the right direction,” said Dr. Kamel Khalili, professor and chair of the department of neuroscience at Temple.
Study data was released on July 21, 2014, along with details about how the team conducted its research. Dr. Khalili and Dr. Wenhui Wu were able to remove the virus by combining a DNA-snipping enzyme with a strand of guide RNA. This combination allowed the team to seek out and erase the HIV-1 DNA; once removed, the cell repairs itself and is virus free.
The discovery is a major step in combating the disease that affects more than 33 million people globally. Black Americans’ HIV contraction rate is eight times that of white Americans, according to the latest research.