Identify the Potential Impact of Genetic Engineering on the Future Course of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (Hiv)

Topics: Immune system, AIDS, Gene Pages: 6 (2074 words) Published: May 9, 2012

Similar to how the twentieth century was the era of prosperity of computing, the twenty-first century is the DNA era. The silicon age brought about remarkable changes in how we as a species think, operate and communicate. A chain reaction occurred, for with the advancements of the computer revolution, came the rise in the genetic revolution – a revolution that will indefinitely do for life what computing did for information. During this modernized age, we are on the brink of being able to transform, manipulate, and create organisms for any number of productive purposes. “From medicine, to agriculture, to construction and even computing, we are within reach of an age when manipulating the genetic codes of various organisms, or engineering entirely new organisms, promises to alter the way we relate to the natural world” (David Koepsell, 2007). Biotechnology, particularly genetic engineering, is already a beneficial resource, employed in medicine. “Genetic engineering is the human altering of the genetic material of living cells to make them capable of producing new substances or performing new functions” (Gale, 2005). It has the potential to improve our health and well-being significantly, revolutionize our manner of living, help us to conserve limited resources, and produce new wealth. Provided that it is appropriately regulated, bearing in mind ethical concerns relating to dignity, harmful consequences, and justice, its potential benefits outweigh its harms. A specific technique of genetic engineering is stem cell therapy and for HIV infection, many different approaches using gene transfer to either limit virus replication or stimulate host immunity are in preclinical development. This paper presents a detailed analysis of the potential impact that stem cell therapy may have on the future of those who have acquired and suffer from HIV. Divided into four parts, the first part addresses the issue of genetic engineering, its weight on the healthcare arena, and also provides a literature review on policies and viewpoints of its implementation and use; the second part identifies the problems among the plans and policies being used; the third provides solutions and how it could possibly be changed to bring about the adjusts necessary and lastly, the fourth section gives an overview justifying the reasons why the solutions will make it viable and proficient.


Genetic engineering has always been a controversial issue, but researchers have been testing ways in which advanced genetic engineering techniques could help to prevent the spread of the potentially debilitating sexually transmitted and mother-baby recessive gene virus known as HIV. HIV, or the human immunodeficiency virus, is a sexually transmitted disease that assails the immune system. The virus attacks what is known as the CD4 cells (or T4 cells), which are the cells necessary to fight off illnesses. Eventually, the virus takes over the CD4 cells and the body becomes vulnerable - unable to fight off diseases and infections. Symptoms of HIV vary according to what stage of the infection you are in and only HIV testing can tell you if you have the disease (WebMD: Better information, better health, 2005-2010) . The use of genetic engineering, specifically stem cell research and gene therapy, however could help bring about some form of relief or aid to those suffering from this disease and could also help stop the spread. Nonetheless, withstanding the opponents and getting them to understand the grave importance of the use of such a technology is a major hurdle to overcome. Besides the moral and ethical implications that come along with this kind of treatment, it is important to note the effect it will have on healthcare as a whole. The development of new stem cell-based therapies could drastically improve and lengthen the lives of people with currently incurable medical conditions, such as HIV. However, there is concern that...
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