Researchers from Temple University have used the CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing tool to clear out the entire HIV-1 genome from a patient’s infected immune cells. It’s a remarkable achievement that could have profound implications for the treatment of AIDS and other retroviruses.
It’s a little early to break out the champagne, but while medication for HIV has done wonders – HIV is notoriously good at hiding in the body. That’s where news like this brings hope that HIV positive people could one day be truly cured.
You’ll probably remember the last time you had the flu, but what about that time you had measles – or was it chicken pox? Your blood knows: it keeps a record of every virus you’ve ever been infected with. A tiny drop of the stuff can now be tested to reveal a person’s viral history.
The test, called VirScan, reveals that adults around the world tend to have been infected by an average of 10 viruses over their lifetime. It could also be used to identify links between viral infections and mysterious diseases like chronic fatigue syndrome.
The article goes on to largely dismiss the use of the test, as the immune response takes time to build up the antibodies necessary to register an indication of infection. And points out that we have established symptoms…
Obesity has reached epic proportions in the United States and is rising in other developed and developing countries as they adopt our diet and lifestyle. Autoimmune diseases, like celiac disease and multiple sclerosis, and allergies, also immune-mediated, have blossomed recently, too.
These conditions have exploded within too short of a time period to be attributable to genetic changes, so environmental factors, from synthetic pesticides to plastics to antibiotics, have been blamed for their increased prevalence. While it’s probably simplistic to search for one cause to explain away both these types of modern ills, some studies are indicating that immune cells and molecules are important for regulating metabolism—and are dysregulated in obesity.