University of Utah researchers have discovered a new class of compounds that stick to the sugary coating of the AIDS virus and inhibit it from infecting cells — an early step toward a new treatment to prevent sexual transmission of the virus.
Development and laboratory testing of the potential new microbicide to prevent human immunodeficiency virus infection is outlined in a study set for online publication in the journal Molecular Pharmaceutics.
…”Most of the anti-HIV drugs in clinical trials target the machinery involved in viral replication,” says the study’s senior author, Patrick F. Kiser, associate professor of bioengineering and adjunct associate professor of pharmaceutics and pharmaceutical chemistry at the University of Utah.
“There is a gap in the HIV treatment pipeline for cost-effective and mass-producible viral entry inhibitors that can inactivate the virus before it has a chance to interact with target cells,” he says.
As scientists learn more about how HIV attaches to CD4 cells, there will be more and possibly less problematic ways to treat and prevent HIV infection.
Science Daily reports a dramatic breakthrough in drug treatment of viral infection:
Most bacterial infections can be treated with antibiotics such as penicillin, discovered decades ago. However, such drugs are useless against viral infections, including influenza, the common cold, and deadly hemorrhagic fevers such as Ebola.
Now, in a development that could transform how viral infections are treated, a team of researchers at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory has designed a drug that can identify cells that have been infected by any type of virus, then kill those cells to terminate the infection.
Viruses are notoriously difficult to treat- technically, they aren’t “alive” so there’s not an effectively good way to “kill” them. Killing the specific cells in which they reside seems like a good place to start- and also has implications for the treatment of cancer, HIV- any disease which starts with an infected or mutated cell.
Science Daily is reporting on a study by UC San Francisco that indicates that the rate of infection among men who have sex with men (MSM) could be significantly reduced by treating HIV immediately upon diagnosis and expanding HIV testing:
If HIV-infected adults in San Francisco began taking antiretroviral treatments as soon as they were diagnosed, the rate of new HIV infections among men who have sex with men would be cut by almost 60 percent over five years….
The finding is published in the April 15, 2011 issue of Clinical Infections Diseases.
The decision of when to begin treatment with antiretroviral drugs is a subject of some debate, with the experts evenly split on whether to begin antiretroviral therapy immediately upon HIV diagnosis or waiting until a patient’s CD4 cell count drops below 500 cells per microliter….”Our clinicians recommended initiating antiretroviral therapy to all of our HIV positive patients based on our assessment that delaying treatment allows the virus to do damage to major organs systems and would lead to poorer outcomes for patients. It is too early to tell if this shift in treatment strategy last year by our clinic and the Department of Public Health has had any impact in preventing HIV infections,” said (study co-author) Havlir.
Starting retroviral treatment early makes sense- it reduces the risk of transmission significantly and probably keeps people healthy and alive longer. And isn’t that the point?
Persons with HIV often take statins to combat high cholesterol levels caused by taking certain HIV Meds, but a new study suggests statins could benefit HIV+ persons by lowering inflammation and calming the immune system.
It may be a low cost way to lower the damaging effects of HIV in the human body. Read it here.