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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
GEORGIA: Researcher Develops New Medicine That Attacks HIV Before It Integrates with Human DNA
By April Reese Sorrow, University of Georgia
October 30, 2013
Medical Xpress (10.18.2013)

An article reported in Medical Xpress discusses a new drug that attacks HIV before it integrates with human DNA. According to Vasu Nair, the Georgia Research Alliance’s eminent scholar and director of the University of Georgia (UGA) Center for Drug Discovery at UGA College of Pharmacy, this HIV integrase inhibitor is very effective against many types of HIV. Nair explained that in the beginning stage of HIV infection, the immune system releases antibodies to defend the body from the invading virus. Helper T-cells called CD4+ cells are important in the body’s immune response and organize the other cells in the immune system to do their work. HIV attaches itself to the outer surface of the CD4+ cell, enters it, releases 15 viral proteins and ribonucleic acid, and uses the human cellular biochemistry to reproduce in large numbers. The virus uses HIV integrase, a viral enzyme, to help it enter human DNA, reproduce, and destroy CD4 lymphocytes. The immune system then is unable to defend itself and the infected person becomes susceptible to opportunistic infections, including meningitis and TB. The new HIV integrase inhibitor developed at the laboratory prevents the viral enzyme from inserting its genome into the DNA of the CD4+ cell. Nair stated that he does not believe a single vaccine would be effective in providing total HIV immunity, as the virus has many forms or subtypes. However, he suggested that inhibiting replication while viral counts are low can make the virus almost totally powerless. He noted that the compound has low toxicity as well as favorable resistance and drug susceptibility profiles against resistant HIV-1 isolates; therefore, it merits further development as an anti-HIV/AIDS therapeutic agent. The drug is now undergoing pre-clinical trials. The Division of AIDS in the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease funded this research. The full report “A Novel Anti-HIV Active Integrase Inhibitor with a Favorable In Vitro Cytochrome P450 and Uridine 5'-Diphospho-Glucuronosyltransferase Metabolism Profile,” was published in the journal Antiviral Research (2013; doi: 10.1016/j.antiviral.2013.04.005).