New drugs which target different steps in HIV replication cycle

July 05, 2007

The success of HIV entry inhibitors -- new drugs which prevent HIV entry into host cells -- are analyzed in a New Drug Class review in this week's edition of the Lancet.

The study, by Dr Jose Este, Fundació irsiCaixa, Hosptial Univeristari Germans, Badalona, Spain, and colleagues, concludes there is a need for new classes of anti-retroviral drugs due to "increasing concern about the long term toxic effects of existing drugs, the need to combat HIV-1 variants that are resistant to treatment, and the frequency of treatment change in drug-experienced patients."

HIV entry inhibitors are either fusion inhibitors or co-receptor antagonists. Many such drugs are in phase III or two clinical trials, and one -- Enfuvirtide, has already been approved after it substantially lowered HIV viral load counts in a proportion of patients. The authors conclude: "The development of a new antiretroviral drug class is a major success. The possibility of blocking HIV entry by fusion inhibitors and coreceptor antagonists proves the value of basic research on the viral life cycle."


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