HIV Defeats CRISPR, for Now

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The gene editing tool CRISPR allows scientists to remove a damaged part of DNA and replace it with a healthy one. (Ernesto del Aguila III/NHGRI)

Last month Temple University scientists published research on their removal of HIV DNA from immune cells, curtailing replication by the virus -- in lab dishes, at least.

Today, new research from a different group, published in Cell Reports, shows the notoriously wily virus in some cases was strengthened by the technique. It also became resistant to CRISPR attacks.

Commenting on the recent discouraging development, Kamel Khalili, from the Temple research group, told New Scientist that "carpet-bombing" the virus could solve the problem.

“The key could be using multiple viral sites for editing,” he said. “This would reduce any chance for virus escape or the emergence of virus resistant to the initial treatment."

Read the New Scientist report below ...