Scientists at Stanford University School of Medicine have discovered a new potential means of preventing HIV infection.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), the virus responsible for AIDS, is notoriously difficult to treat due to its tendency to mutate. The American team, however, have found a way to get around this problem by preventing infection in the first place. The method consists of altering the genetic codes of the specific white blood cells which are targeted by HIV so as to make them naturally resistant to the virus.
The researchers of the study, published in Molecular Therapy, have claimed that this tailored gene therapy might ultimately replace current HIV drug treatments, which necessitate patients taking multiple drugs on a daily basis. While not a cure for the virus, this method could potentially prevent the spread of infection and, therefore, the likelihood of AIDS developing.
The treatment could eventually also be applied to other blood based diseases, such as sickle cell anaemia.