Scientists make breakthrough on fighting HIV
In a major breakthrough that has the potential to revolutionize the fight against HIV/AIDS, Chinese scientists recently modified a gene in embryos to make humans immune to the HIV virus.
Researchers from the Guangzhou Medical University used a gene editing technique named CRISPR/ Cas to replace the CCR5 gene in 26 human embryos with an HIV-resistant mutation. Only four embryos were successfully edited, while the other 22 cases failed to produce the desired results.
The CRISPR/ Cas9 gene editing technique, better known as the “molecular Swiss army knife”, is a technology developed by US scientist Jennifer Doudna and French scientist Emmanuelle Charpentier in 2012.
“In this study, we demonstrated that the HIV-resistant mutation could be introduced into early human embryos through the CRISPR system,” said Fan Yong, a researcher of the Guangzhou Medical University and an author of the paper.
The research was reported in the Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics.