A team of American bio-hackers have developed a single-shot genetic therapy, which they believe can functionally cure HIV.
The first self-administration of this therapy took place Tuesday night in Arlington, Virginia by test subject Tristan Roberts. Roberts has been living with HIV for five years and declined to continue traditional treatment for two.
Bio-hackers are scientists that operate outside of the conventional research institutions, and often operate in gray or black markets. News2Share, along with a Netflix documentary crew, were given access to the experiment.
The therapy attempts to use a plasmid – a circular piece of DNA common in nature to transfer genes between individuals and even species – to grant the recipient the ability to produce N6: an antibody shown to destroy nearly all strains of HIV.
“Essentially 1%, and really even less than 1%, of persons currently with HIV, for reasons that are aren’t really clearly known, these persons developed a genetic immunity once they contracted the HIV,” explained Aaron Traywick, CEO of Ascendance Biomedical. His mission, he says, is to share the 1%’s immunity “with the 99%.”
“I want to dedicate this to all those who have died while not being able to access treatment, even though those treatments were available,” Mr. Roberts said before injecting himself with the therapy.
Roberts is an activist in the fields of government and technology. News2Share covered his participation in the 2016 Million Mask March where he was arrested and charged with defacing government property and resisting arrest for spray-painting the word “corrupt” onto the FBI headquarters in Washington DC.
The therapy attempts to supply the modified cells the ability to produce N6, which is present in a minuscule sample of the human population. These people, who carry the virus but their immune system is able to keep the virus silenced, are called “controllers.”
The experiment was livestreamed exclusively by News2Share. Mr. Roberts had an opportunity to answer several questions from the live audience:
Mr. Roberts will continue to test the virus’s levels over the next several months. Success in the experiment would be measured by whether the virus levels will have decreased, and if so, by how much and for how long.
The therapy is the result of a collaboration between independent researchers and Ascendance Biomedical.
This experiment was filmed and covered by News2Share as a part of the filming for their upcoming documentary film Transhuman (working title) which focuses on radical science and technology that seeks to evolve the human mind, body, and lifespan.
Additional footage is available. For licensing or media inquiries, please reach out to Ford Fischer at (573) 575 NEWS or firstname.lastname@example.org. Support News2Share at: https://www.patreon.com/FordFischer