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  • Scientists may have developed gene therapy that effectively prevents AIDS. But HIV may

  • have mutated to bypass the new defenses. Gah, HIV, you are such a piece of sh-

  • Hello viewers, I hope youre healthy and well out there, Julian here for DNews. Researchers

  • at the Scripps Research Institute believe they are on track to a gene therapy that will

  • effectively render most strains of HIV impotent.

  • The Human Immunodeficiency Virus works by targeting CD4+ T Cells, which are white blood

  • cells that play a key role in your adaptive immune system - that’s the part that helps

  • you fight infections. HIV latches onto them by grabbing onto the CD4 protein on the T

  • cell’s surface, and then clamping down on another receptor called CCR5. Once it’s

  • in position, it inserts its own RNA into the cell, tricking it into making more viruses.

  • It basically turns the good guy cells into zombies. Once enough T Cells are turned, the

  • infected person’s immune system is compromised and vulnerable and they have Acquired Immune

  • Deficiency Syndrome, or AIDS.

  • Unfortunately no effective vaccine has been developed yet. The problem with retroviruses

  • like HIV is they change and adapt quickly. It’s like whack-a-mole with the deadliest

  • mole ever. And of course there are many strands, so a vaccine against one strand probably won’t

  • be effective against others. Now though scientists think theyre on to something.

  • Dr. Michael Farzan and other researchers say theyve created a tiny strand of DNA which,

  • when injected into muscle tissue, stimulates the cells to synthesize a claw-shaped protein.

  • For proteins, shapes are everything, and this claw is HIV’s worst nightmare. It’s simple

  • enough that even if the virus changes, it likely won’t be able to shake the claw.

  • The protein works by latching on to the CD4 and CCR5 binding sites on the virus, leaving

  • it adrift and unable to latch on to T Cells. If it can’t latch on, it can’t replicate.

  • Eventually it’s broken down and disposed of harmlessly.

  • This isn’t just some flash in the test tube either. Theyve already been testing this

  • on 4 monkeys by giving them the gene therapy and then injecting them with a strain of HIV

  • for lab monkeys, called the Simian/Human Immunodeficiency Virus. After nearly a year, the Macaques are

  • A-OK. Now theyre looking to treat infected monkeys to see if it can stop the virus from

  • replicating further.

  • If that’s a success, theyre looking to begin human trials. Don’t worry, they won’t

  • be injecting humans with HIV to test it, theyll be giving the protein and gene to those either

  • with HIV or those at high risk.

  • As always, nothing is guaranteed until it happens, but it looks promising. Of course,

  • the world being what it is, researchers in Cuba believe they have found a new strain

  • of HIV that skips the CCR5 bonding site and goes straight for the one known as CXCR4.

  • Normally HIV transitions to the CXCR4 protein after years, during which time the host is

  • relatively healthy. Once it switches though the descent to AIDS begins. This new strand,

  • which researchers believe is the combination of several other HIV subtypes, fast tracks

  • AIDS leading to earlier death. It’s no more infectious than its predecessors, but it might

  • render this new treatment ineffective.

  • So, one step forward and one step back? But keeping things on the positive tip - if scientists

  • can keep that new strain from spreading, then we may have an effective treatment for all

  • the other variants of HIV in the pipeline. One day HIV may be some terrifying disease

  • that only exists in history books and memories, like polio is to our grandparents. I hope

  • I’m around to see that day.

  • While this isn’t technically a vaccine, I’m sure the public will think of it as

  • such and of course, there will be skeptics. Here to say once again that vaccines do not

  • cause autism is Trace, because apparently that still needs to be said. check it out

  • over here.

  • What’s your reaction to the news? Hopeful? Skeptical? What are your reasons? Let us know

  • in the comments and I’ll see you next time on DNews.

Scientists may have developed gene therapy that effectively prevents AIDS. But HIV may


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我們能治癒艾滋病毒嗎? (Will We Ever Cure HIV?)

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    Cheng-Hong Liu 發佈於 2021 年 01 月 14 日