Scientists have engineered an immune cell that can find and attack HIV, even when it mutates.
Not only can “killer T-cells” determine when other cells had been infected with HIV, but they also slowed the spread of HIV in a lab dish, according to Reuters.
HIV is a tricky virus because it can disguise itself to hide from immune cells. Scientists reported, however, that it took fewer engineered T-cells a shorter amount of time to find and control HIV than a natural T-cell.
"In the face of our engineered assassin cells, the virus will either die or be forced to change its disguises again, weakening itself along the way," Andy Sewell of Britain’s Cardiff University told The BBC. “We’d prefer the first option but I suspect we’ll see the latter. Even if we do only cripple the virus, this will still be a good outcome, as it is likely to become a much slower target and be easier to pick off.”
T-cell treatment testing in HIV patients could start as early as next year.