Cure for HIV won’t be possible with traditional medicines and treatment, which is why advanced technologies are used by the researchers. The National Institute of Health (NIH) has joined hands with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to work on a gene bases cure for HIV and other sickle cell disease. The aim is to not only find a cure for AIDS but also to make the resources required affordable and available to everyone, particularly in Africa where the disease is most widespread.
Though #SickleCellDisease, a heritable disease, and #HIV, an acquired disease, present different scientific challenges, gene-based treatments hold promise for both, and many technical challenges for developing scalable gene-based cures are expected to be common to both. #NIH pic.twitter.com/PB5kOOTWuN
— NIH (@NIH) October 23, 2019
#NIH & @GatesFoundation plan to invest $100M+ each over the next 4 years w/ambitious goal to develop gene-based cures for #SickleCellDisease & #HIV that are available to everyone, not just those in high-income countries.
— Francis S. Collins (@NIHDirector) October 23, 2019
Scientists are making efforts in both the traditional gene therapies and genome-editing techniques such as CRISPR to find a permanent cure for HIV. It is not just limited to that, the plan is to inject the solution directly through infusion, so the overhead cost and complexities can be reduced.
CRISPR Genome Editor to Cure HIV
Scientists have been researching on gene-based cures combined with hydroxyurea, a drug to cure the sickle disease. It was found out that giving children the drug directly has reduced the death rates by two-thirds and halved their pain crisis.
The plan is to develop something similar for HIV/AIDS which doesn’t require extensive treatment and can be directly injected in an infected patient’s body. CRISPR genome editor is used to mutate the infected cells which can be directly cured without taking them out in a lab.
Genetic Cure will be Infused Directly in Blood
It is not just about developing a safe and effective gene-based cure for HIV/AIDS and sickle disease, there is also another major concern. The currently developed therapies require an advanced medical set-up to take the blood out, alter the cells in a genome lab, chemotherapy, bone marrow transplant and so much more.
The whole process requires monitoring of the patient and intensive medical support which most of the patients around the world can’t afford. It is why the Doctors are planning to develop a genetic cure that can be given directly into the blood of patients through infusion to cure HIV. The process will remove the complications and reduce the treatment cost, making it accessible to more and more HIV/AIDS patients around the world.