Tala Ko

Gene Editing Could Make Anyone Immune to AIDS

Posted on: Wednesday, 2 July 2008

clipped from blog.wired.com

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Some people have a mutation that makes them amazingly resistant to HIV — and now, scientists may have found a way to give that immunity to anyone.
Viruses enter cells and take them over, but to get inside, they need a handhold. HIV pulls itself in by grabbing onto a protein called CCR5, which decorates the surface of T-cells, which are one of the two major types of white blood cells and play an important role in helping the body fight infections. Back in the 1990’s, researchers took interest in a handful of promiscuous gay men who were able to engage in sexual relations with their HIV-positive partners with impunity. Most of them had a mutation that kept their cells from producing normal CCR5 protein.
Armed with that knowledge, scientists have developed several tactics to block the production of CCR5 or perturb its shape so that the HIV virus can’t grab onto it during the first step of its hijacking attempt
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