Scientists in the US have been working hard to try and solve the organ crisis. There has been a huge shortage in the available organs for transplant in recent years, but scientists may now have solved the problem.
They have been working tirelessly, altering the pig’s genome in an attempt to try and cure various viruses. Pig organs are known to be compatible with humans as we both share a monogastric digestive system and similar organs and organ structures.
The latest discovery now means that retroviruses found in pig organs, which could be of harm to humans, can now be quickly eradicated. Tests were carried out by the team and found that porcine endogenous retroviruses could be passed on to other cells. They then found, upon editing the cells, that they could remove the viruses from pig genomes, opening the door for future use of organs in humans.
That’s being said the only successful trials yet to be performed in cell lines, and not yet live animals. Upon extensive testing the team found that there is a real need to deactivate these viruses prior to transplanting. It found these viruses to be able to infect humans.
They identified 25 viruses in total and using a gene editing tool, CRISPR, they were able to deactivate all found viruses. None of the cloned cells could achieve higher than 90% editing efficiency, meaning the methods have still to be perfected. Though the latest developments saw the team achieving in eradicating 100% of all the retroviruses, paving the way for pig organ transplants in humans.