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Trying in the Eye

A study of Editas Medicine's CRISPR-based therapy to treat Leber congenital amaurosis has begun, NPR reports.

It adds that the study is the first to rely on CRISPR editing within the human body. Other CRISPR-based approaches typically remove patients' cells, edit them, and then return the modified version. But NPR notes that as Leber congenital amaurosis affect fragile retinal cells, the researchers instead decided to use modified viruses to deliver the CRISPR machinery to the eye to make the changes in the body.

"This is the very first time that anyone's ever actually tried to do gene-editing from inside the body," Lisa Michaels, chief medical officer at Editas, tells NPR. "We're actually delivering the gene-editing apparatus to the part of the body where the disease takes place in order to correct it."

As NPR reports, the treatment targets the CEP290 gene, one cause of Leber congenital amaurosis. So far, researchers have treated four people and hope to treat six adults and, eventually, eight children, it adds. The hope is to prevent further vision loss and possibly restore some vision that has already been lost, it notes.

The Scan

Alzheimer's Risk Gene Among Women

CNN reports that researchers have found that variants in MGMT contribute to Alzheimer's disease risk among women but not men.

Still Hanging Around

The Guardian writes that persistent pockets of SARS-CoV-2 in the body could contribute to long COVID.

Through a Little Spit

Enteric viruses like norovirus may also be transmitted through saliva, not just the fecal-oral route, according to New Scientist.

Nature Papers Present Method to Detect Full Transcriptome, Viruses Infecting Asgard Archaea, More

In Nature this week: VASA-seq approach to detect full transcriptome, analysis of viruses infecting Asgard archaea, and more.