The HIV 'cure' that snips out virus

By Sarah Knapton

Is a cure for HIV/Aids just years away? Photo / iStock
Is a cure for HIV/Aids just years away? Photo / iStock

A cure for HIV and Aids could be just a few years away after scientists proved they can snip away the virus from infected cells and prevent the disease returning.

The HIV virus attacks and kills immune cells leaving patients highly vulnerable to other infections. Around 600 people with HIV die in Britain each year.

But scientists in the US have shown that it is possible to use genetic editing technology to cut away the virus from the DNA of cells.

Although the experiments have so far only been in a lab, researchers at Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University in Philadelphia, are confident that within three years they will be able to start trials on humans.

British experts said the treatment would effectively "engineer the body to cure itself from the inside" and charities said the breakthrough was "very exciting".

The human immune cells which were tested in the lab showed no alteration to any other parts of the genetic code. There have been fears that altering DNA could trigger genetic breaks which would prove harmful or lethal to humans. The research was published on Nature's Scientific Reports website.

- Daily Telegraph UK

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