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IMPORTANT: Please note that you must now log in with your email address and not your username! UK experts at the Imperial College London (ICL) have recently made a significant breakthrough in HIV research, after more than 20 years of research. Being a virus, HIV cannot replicate on its own, and needs a host cell in order to produce more copies of itself. The investigation was conducted over a period of four years, during which time more than 40,000 trials were attempted. The achievement could have considerable implications on approaching HIV and AIDS patients, and could result in groundbreaking, new therapies for the condition, healthcare experts say. So, when it enters a human cell, for example, it hijacks the genetic mechanisms at work inside, and makes them produce more viral agents. When we started out, we knew that the project was very difficult, and that many tricks had already been tried and given up by others long ago.


It involves targeting the genetic code of HIV which inserts into cells, according to The Telegraph. Details of the investigation appear in the latest issue of the respected scientific journal Nature, e! It therefore needs to paste a copy of its genetic material into the genome of the cell, and the way it does that is via an enzyme called integrase. Therefore, we went back to square one and started by looking for a better model of HIV integrase, which could be more amenable for crystallization. Scientists then take the Cas9 protein and edit it so it can recognize viral code. The patienta€™s blood is then taken and scientists would inject Cas9, which would then seek out the HIV virus in the cells.
Despite initially painstakingly slow progress and very many failed attempts, we did not give up and our effort was finally rewarded,” ICL Department of Medicine expert Dr.
The enzyme was collected from a type of retrovirus known as the Prototype Foamy Virus (PFV).


This could help molecular biologists create drugs that are targeted at this enzyme directly, a completely new approach to treating HIV. In this organism, the integration processes and functions of integrase are roughly the same as the ones in HPV, the researchers say. Scientists are confident that replacing 20 percent of immune cells with genetically altered cells would be enough to cure the virus. a€?It is an important step forward.
This is part of a wave of research that is being done using these new techniques to attack HIV in particular but also a number of other diseases,a€? Britaina€™s Manchester University Professor Matthew Cobb told Radio 4, according to the newspaper. They add that the final data showed that the enzyme had a very different structure than the one proposed through the theoretical model.



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