Last week, there were a number of articles reporting that a cure for HIV and AIDS could be as close as three years away. Researchers at Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University have found a way to use genetic code to "snip" the HIV virus out of the blood. According to Nature World News, the protein Cas9, has been modified in order to recognize HIV's genetic code that inserts itself in the cells. Blood will be drawn from the infected person and then once the modified protein recognizes the HIV virus, an enzyme will be released "snipping" away the virus. The Telegraph states that scientists believe that replacing just 20 per cent of immune cells with the genetically altered cells would be enough to cure the disease. It is critical to understand that even though the "cure" could be here in three years, it could be many years before it would be available to all U.S. citizens living with HIV and AIDS. POZ magazine states that "There are three clinical trial phases required before a medical treatment can qualify for U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval. Each successive phase of this process entails a larger population of participants, a longer study period and greater overall complexity. The entire process typically takes many years."
This is not the first encouraging report of a possible cure for HIV. Of course, we hope it will come to fruition, but we have seen a number of encouraging reports over the years that just have not happened. However, we cannot give up hope, and I for one, will be first in line to volunteer to get my genetic code modified in a clinical trial to remove the virus from my system. Remember that if this treatment works, it will be many years before the general public will have access to it.