(TIME) — For the first time, researchers eliminated HIV from the genomes of living animals mag.time.com/0LYVMKt.
Combining anti-HIV drugs and gene editing, scientists have found a way to remove HIV genes from infected animals, opening the way to a possible cure
They work best on viruses that are actively making copies of themselves and infecting healthy cells. HIV has evolved to “learn” this, and can mutate to become resistant to the medications so that as soon as the drug onslaught stops, viruses replicate with abandon once again. HIV can also preserve itself by hiding, quiescent and not replicating, in lymph and other tissues throughout the body. When the immune system drops its guard, these latent viruses can start replicating again. All of which means that once a person is infected, these viruses remain in the body like an uncapped grenade, just waiting to overwhelm the immune system with millions of infectious virus, years, or even decades, after HIV infected its first cell.