A team of scientists from the University of Edinburgh used gene-editing procedures on chicken cells to make them immune to the bird flu virus. The experiment was successful, so the outcomes of the research boost the chances of coming up with gene-edited chickens that would resist to avian influenza. To achieve these results, scientists cut a section of chicken DNA inside the cells, thus stopping the virus from infecting the cells.
However, further experiments would come. The goal is to produce chickens with that specific genetic mutations so that the birds will be immune to the bird flu virus.
The researchers focused on a particular molecule from the chicken cells, which is known as ANP32A. Scientists from the Imperial College London first spotted that molecule during avian influenza infection, and they concluded that the bird flu virus takes over ANP32A to replicate. Accordingly, the new study centered on removing that specific ANP32A molecule to stop the virus from multiplying.
Scientists Gene-Edited Chicken Cells To Make Them Immune To The Bird Flu Virus
The bird flu virus is threatening not only the birds, as some strains of the virus can also be transmitted to humans in some cases. When transmitted to humans, the bird flu virus causes severe disease and consequences which could even lead to death in people with a weak immune system, children, or older adults.
Accordingly, it is imperative for scientists to come with improved solutions to keep the virus at bay. The gene-edited chicken cells to develop immunity to the bird flu virus prove to be a reliable solution in the long term in order to eradicate the condition.
“This is an important advance that suggests we may be able to use gene-editing techniques to produce chickens that are resistant to bird flu. We haven’t produced any birds yet and we need to check if the DNA change has any other effects on the bird cells before we can take this next step,” explained Dr. Mike McGrew from the University of Edinburgh.