A cure for HIV has come closer to reality after a team of researchers succeeded in cutting the virus out of infected cells, eradicating it permanently.
The Temple University scientists believe that a gene editing technique, known as Crispr/Cas9, could pave the way for an injection to cure sufferers.
Kamel Khalili, who led the research, said that the findings are important on multiple levels as they demonstrate the effectiveness of the gene editing system in eliminating HIV from the DNA of CD4 T-cells and by introducing mutations in the viral genome, permanently inactivating its replication.
Khalili added that the study shows that the system can protect cells from reinfection and that the technology is safe for the cells, with no toxic effects.
He noted that these experiments had not been performed previously to this extent, but the questions they address are critical and the results allow them to move ahead with this technology.
While the experiments have so far only been carried out in human cells in the lab, clinical trials on humans could begin within three years, The Telegraph reported.
The study is published online in the Nature journal, Scientific Reports.