A SINGLE injection that reduces the risk of a heart attack by up to 90 per cent could be available within 10 years, say scientists.

The jab, that only has to be administered once, has already been tested on mice.

It uses cutting-edge DNA-editing technology to "knock out" a liver gene linked to raised levels of cholesterol.

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In the laboratory mice, the injection reduced blood concentrations of cholesterol by 35 per cent to 40 per cent within days. A similar impact on cholesterol in humans would lower the risk of heart attacks by as much as 90 per cent.

US lead scientist Dr Kiran Musunuru, from the Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI), said: "Heart attack is the leading natural killer worldwide, with one in two men and one in three women past the age of 40 having heart attacks.

"If you had a therapy that targeted the liver, changed the genome - and if it were totally safe - then at least in theory you could think of this therapy as something like a vaccination. It could be a one-time treatment, a permanent alteration. If you used this in a population, you could reduce the occurrence of heart attack by 30, 50 or 90 per cent."

He said although the research was at a very early stage, the first trial patients could be offered the treatment within a decade.