It is not that long ago that I had a very nasty virus in my computer. Luckily all the bells and whistles went off and alerted me to the infection and it was excised from the hard drive. The computer was now immune to further infections.
Not being a scientist, I have always thought that Genetic Code must somehow be like the Operating Systems for computers. When an infection or corruption affects either it causes all kinds of trouble. However in the case of the computer, if the corruption is so bad, one can always wipe everything clean and start again or replace the missing or corrupted code using software.
I have long mused on the idea that if scientists can create virtual electronic code, that operates computers, and the WWW, why could they not “ sort” the missing genetic code that causes inherited disease?
It is reported on the BBC today that surgeons and scientists in Oxford , have introduced genetic code using a virus, by injecting them directly into the eye of test subjects who had the inherited condition known as choroideremia which over a lifetime will result in complete blindness. .
This has resulted in a 63 year old man who was virtually blind, having the light receptors in his eyes revived, and his sight is steadily improving. Other, younger, test patients have reported even more startling results. The scientists are , to say the least, “ very pleased “ with the results.
The Oxford team, who carried out the difficult and risky procedure, now hope to research it further and use it for reversing other inherited genetic blindness conditions.
Let’s hope this technique becomes available and affordable on the NHS.