r/science Oct 07 '22

A Bold Effort to C*ure HIV—Using Crispr — "An experiment tests whether the gene-editing technology can stop the virus from replicating, which would ultimately wipe out the infection." Health

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71 Upvotes

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4

u/livipup Oct 07 '22

Why is there an asterisk in cure? Does it mean something?

8

u/tonymmorley Oct 07 '22

"And even though these drugs are very effective, Johnston says, many people would rather be completely free of the virus. A single Crispr infusion—if it works—would eliminate the need for daily pills. “People with HIV still live with a lot of stigma and internalized shame,” she says. “I think a cure is something that addresses that much better than lifelong therapy, regardless of how easy that therapy becomes.”

Root Source: Sequential LASER ART and CRISPR Treatments Eliminate HIV-1 in a Subset of Infected Humanized Mice, Nature Communications, July 2019

-2

u/AeternusDoleo Oct 07 '22

I'm skeptical of this technology. Viruses replicate exponentially. All it would take is one mutation that makes a virus resistant to this treatment would render it ineffective. If that happens with a bit of a delay, it would hit someone unprepared for a resurgence of HIV.

Also... tinkering with replication. Any potential chance that this would jump over to healthy cells? Those no longer replicating would be a quick path to death...

7

u/rollingurkelgrue Oct 07 '22

So they shouldn’t even try?

-2

u/AeternusDoleo Oct 07 '22

Well, at this point that's no longer an option. But I'm worried about the bioweapons potential for this kind of research.

2

u/rollingurkelgrue Oct 07 '22

I doubt you can be 100% sure that it’s no longer an option.

1

u/AeternusDoleo Oct 07 '22

This is being experimented with according to the article. So they are already trying. So... yea.

1

u/rollingurkelgrue Oct 07 '22

I thought you meant the outcome desired wasn’t an option

2

u/AeternusDoleo Oct 07 '22

Oh, no. I'm fully on board with the goal of permanently curing HIV - who would not be? It's just the consequences of developing this technology that bother me.

3

u/metric-poet Oct 07 '22

Taking pills every day also tinkers with replication. Wouldn’t it be better to work towards a cure?

1

u/[deleted] Oct 07 '22

That’s why they are only doing this treatment in people who have achieved full suppression of viral replication through antiretrovirals.

-5

u/[deleted] Oct 07 '22

Stopping replication, is not the same as killing. If it's already in someone's body, and it isn't replicating, doesn't mean it's dead. It's still there. It just isn't getting any worse. Meaning it can still be passed on to someone else.

11

u/tonymmorley Oct 07 '22

Do you even entropy bro?

4

u/GT537 Oct 07 '22

don’t think he even read the article or knows what a virus really is or does. current medication stops replication to the point that the virus can become undetectable, and effectively in-transmissible. The article refers to cells that may go dormant and harbor the virus only to release it later, thus the need for daily medication. This treatment aims at eliminating those as well. A virus that can’t replicate is effectively nothing more than a dead cell

8

u/tonymmorley Oct 07 '22

But virus particles do not have an infinite lifespan, thus if you stop replication, you will clear the system once all the original virus particles have expired. Surely that makes sense.

-11

u/[deleted] Oct 07 '22

Disagree. Viruses have lifespans and some don't and are carried perpetually by the host. Example, the very monkeys this virus stems from. They are carriers for it. It has not died in them.

10

u/metric-poet Oct 07 '22 edited Oct 07 '22

viruses are not alive in that sense. They attach to host cells and hijack their replication mechanism. It is the replication mechanism that causes the disease. So if you stop the replication, you stop the disease. The host cells that are infected have a lifespan and they die, taking the attached virus with them (assuming they can still attach). Any foreign bodies floating around like non functional viruses should be removed by the immune system since it is no longer being suppressed by the disease.

A virus that doesn’t replicate is no longer a virus since replication is all it does.

-5

u/[deleted] Oct 07 '22

A virus lifespan is three stages. Entry, genome replication, and exit. If you remove the replication ability, it does not mean it exits. If you're referring to viruses actually dying off... I'd like to refer to the common cold. Viruses don't die.... Period. They just lay in wait, trying to attach to a host to hijack the ability to replicate. Please for the love of all that is unholy... Stop spouting nonsense.

4

u/metric-poet Oct 07 '22 edited Oct 07 '22

Never said the virus would die. You’re the only person attributing life and death to a non living thing. It is not alive in the first place.

With this development they would lie in wait and can never replicate. Sure, but not forever. The immune system no longer hindered by the disease should be able to remove them without issue.

Remember that the disease is what prevents the immune system from eliminating the virus by itself.

-1

u/[deleted] Oct 07 '22

Well it is... My point still stands... Replication does not equate to removal. Period

-1

u/[deleted] Oct 07 '22

No replication does not equate to virus removal from the host body. Nor does it equate with virus death.

3

u/metric-poet Oct 07 '22 edited Oct 07 '22

Agreed. I never said that, and a virus can’t die because it was never alive. It’s a common misconception. If you take away what makes a virus a virus, it stops being a virus. So there’s no longer a virus to remove, it’s just debris that the body can naturally absorb and dispose of.

0

u/[deleted] Oct 07 '22

It just states that, it prevents replication. The attachment will still continue. That's like getting a vasectomy, your tool isn't good for anything but a pleasure rod and urination. But, doesn't mean you're going to disappear because of it. That's the misdirection of the post. It is intentional. The host cell will eventually be replaced by the body but, that also largely depends on the cell type that was infected to begin with.

1

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-11

u/[deleted] Oct 07 '22

Monogamy and a drug free lifestyle also works well at eradicating the virus