HIV integrates its genetic material into the genome of a host cell, meaning available therapies just can’t remove it. A team of scientists at Temple University and the University of Nebraska Medical Center managed to remove the virus completely from mice during preclinical testing using a combination of CRISPR and antiretroviral therapy. They also found no adverse events that could be linked to the therapy in the study, published back in 2019.
The company is also working on similar treatments for other viruses, including herpes and hepatitis B.
September 27, 2021
Excision’s CRISPR gene editing therapy for HIV is heading into human testing after FDA clearance
[A few months ago a male friend (who I suspect is bi-sexual) pointed out that COVID-19 is not the first pandemic our generation has lived through. My thinking about this enabled a quick response to different friend just a few days later who was pontificating on how COVID-19, “Hit the sweet spot of infectiveness and lethality.” I disagreed, “It could be a lot more lethal.” “Not really”, he replied, “It would be hard to be more lethal and still infect a lot of people because it would kill people before they could infect as many people as it does.” I had a three letter acronym response, “HIV”.
He immediately conceded. A disease as infectious as chickenpox with the silent latency and deadliness of HIV would have the potential to exterminate humanity.
I fear that as long as we have global trade if we don’t develop the ability to respond to new diseases in timeframes of weeks, or perhaps days, some disease will, “Find the sweet spot” (or be engineered) to close the curtain on humans.
HIV was first recognized as a new disease in 1981. At the time I figured scientists would have it figured out and curable in “five or ten years”. Forty years later a promising cure is going into human trials.
Herpes too was a pretty big deal in the mid 1980s. Like HIV, herpes is now treatable but incurable. That may be changing in the next few years.
Think of all these diseases as practice for the future.—Joe]