Geneticists find no evidence to prove that the modification was aimed at making the world’s first gene-edited babies immune to HIV, as Nature reported earlier. Jiankui— a biophysicist who developed a specific gene mutation, CCR5-delta32 (CCR5-332), which few people naturally have — which may offer latent HIV immunity. Evidence suggests that people with two versions of a natural genetic variant that gives HIV immunity may be at an increased risk of earlier death than others. Many researchers performed different studies in the aftermath of the Nature Medicine study and found little evidence to show that people with the mutation die early.
It was noted that technical inaccuracies in how the mutation was identified in a population-health database caused the incorrect conclusion about CCR5. The inconsistencies found with the gene variant do not indicate that the authors urged a green light to gene editing of CCR5. According to Reich, it’s fair to expect that they don’t know how to calculate it and editing it out seemed unwise.