New breakthrough in combating HIV

Researcher develops new medicine that attacks HIV before it integrates with human DNA

Thirty-four million people are living with human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, worldwide and each year some 2.5 million more are infected, according to the World Health Organization.

New medicine developed at the University of Georgia attacks the virus before it integrates with human DNA, understood by researchers as the point of no return.

“In our laboratories, we have discovered a highly potent HIV integrase inhibitor, or blocker, aimed at the ‘point of no return’ in HIV infectivity,” said Nair, who is the Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar in Drug Discovery in the UGA College of Pharmacy. “This inhibitor is highly effective against many variations of HIV.”

    Vasu Nair, Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar and director of the UGA Center for Drug Discovery, has developed a drug that blocks HIV from inserting its genome into the DNA of the host cell.
Vasu Nair, Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar and director of the UGA Center for Drug Discovery, has developed a drug that blocks HIV from inserting its genome into the DNA of the host cell.

According to Nair, HIV integrase is an ideal target for drug therapy because it is essential for viral replication, and there is no human counterpart, which means there is a low risk of side effects.

Cell signaling, the transmission of information by molecules that coordinate and direct cellular actions, plays a key role in HIV cell invasion and the hijacking of cellular biochemistry, allowing the virus to replicate itself.

In the initial stage of HIV infection, the body’s immune system releases antibodies to attack the virus. Helper T-cells, called CD4+ cells, play a central role in the body’s immune response, orchestrating other cells in the immune system to carry out their specific protective functions. In its invasion of CD4+ cells, HIV recognizes and attaches itself to the outer surface of the cell, penetrates it, sheds its outer coat, releases its 15 viral proteins and a ribonucleic acid and proceeds with exploiting the human cellular biochemical machinery to reproduce itself in massive numbers

“Of all of the steps involved in the replication or reproduction of HIV in its infectivity of the human system, the single most devastating point is the incorporation or integration of viral DNA into human chromosomal DNA,” said Nair.

This insertion of viral DNA into human DNA occurs through a complex biochemical process that is facilitated by HIV integrase, a viral enzyme. Only after this crucial step is the viral invader in a position to exploit human cellular biochemistry to reproduce itself in astonishing numbers to ultimately bring about the destruction of CD4 lymphocytes, the coordinators of the immune response system of the human body.

As the infected T-cells die, the immune system of the infected body is unable to defend itself; opportunistic infections such as pneumonia, meningitis, antibiotic-resistant TB and other bacterial and viral infections become deadly. HIV and, eventually, AIDS and drug-resistant tuberculosis are a particularly deadly liaison, which kill a quarter of a million people a year, according to the WHO.

“A devastating consequence of the integration step is that once viral integration has occurred, it cannot be reversed,” Nair said. “That’s why integration is viewed as the ‘point of no return’ in HIV infection.”

The drug developed in Nair’s lab blocks the viral enzyme from inserting its genome into the DNA of the host cell.

While Nair acknowledges an HIV vaccine that eliminates the virus altogether may not be doable, therapies that allow people to live longer lives while infected are attainable.

“I don’t really think that a single vaccine would be truly effective in providing total immunity against HIV because the virus has multiple forms or subtypes,” he said. “By inhibiting replication while viral counts are still low, however, a drug can render HIV almost entirely impotent.”

Research efforts worldwide on HIV integrase inhibitors have resulted in two Federal Drug Administration-approved drugs. However, co-infection of HIV with Mycobacterium tuberculosis and other microbial and viral agents has introduced added complications to the HIV pandemic, requiring drugs that work well together for antiviral combination therapeutics targeting HIV. Targeting the virus, rather than the human mechanism that allows it to reproduce, prevents interference with enzymes that are key to the natural and required biochemical metabolic processes in the human system.

“The compound displays low toxicity, which is very important,” Nair said. “Its resistance and related drug susceptibility profiles against resistant HIV-1 isolates are favorable. When taken together, the antiviral activity profile and the drug interaction profile of our integrase inhibitor present a compelling case for its further development as an anti-HIV/AIDS therapeutic agent.”

The therapy is now in the pre-clinical testing phase.

“There are potential ramifications of this invention in other therapeutic areas, as well as in co-infection therapeutics,” said Nair. “This is perhaps the most exciting aspect of our discovery.”

The research was funded through the Division of AIDS in the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Results were recently published in the journal Antiviral Research.

Source | MedicalXpress

Find us here

Get news from the CSGLOBE in your inbox each weekday morning

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors/source and do not necessarily reflect the position of CSGLOBE or its staff.

Paid content

Forget Fluoride Lets Add Lithium To Public Water!

Should we drug the drinking water? Adding lithium to the taps 'could lower suicide rates' Lithium has been heralded by some experts as the next...

Soda addiction: bad for your teeth

Soda addiction as bad for your teeth as meth or crack Bad news, diet coke junkies: gulping down excessive amounts of soda is no longer...

Is USA lying to WHO on virus data? Or WHO is lying the world?

Numbers have a certain mystique: They seem precise, exact, sometimes even beyond doubt. But outside the field...

What's New Today

Georgia House Votes To Allow Citizens To Abolish Police Departments In The State

The Georgia House backed an effort on Friday to dissolve the Glynn County Police Department and any...

Leaked CDC document contradicts Pence claim that U.S. coronavirus cases ‘have stabilized’

Even as Vice President Mike Pence wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed published Tuesday that coronavirus...

Five bombshells about Trump from Bolton ‘s book

Excerpts from former national security adviser John Bolton ’s book about his time in the Trump administration...

Don’t Listen to Fox. Here’s What’s Really Going On in Seattle’s Protest Zone.

It seems I live in a city undergoing a “totalitarian takeover” that will lead to “fascist outcomes”...

MOST READ

What Is Agenda 21? Depopulation of 95% of the World By 2030

Most people are unaware that one of the greatest threats to their freedom may be a United Nations program which plans to depopulate 95%...

Bombs Have Been Dropped in Nevada – U.S. is Responsible

Apparently, America is now using Nevada's land to test bombs. With each passing day, the U.S. continues to follow their own personal agenda. A report did reveal...

Oklahoma High Schooler’s Carbon Discovery Elicits Wonder From Experts

Taking teenage rebellion to a new level, Oklahoma high school senior George Wang stunned teachers and fellow students when in April he co-authored a...

Forget Fluoride Lets Add Lithium To Public Water!

Should we drug the drinking water? Adding lithium to the taps 'could lower suicide rates' Lithium has been heralded by some experts as the next...

FDA Claims New GM Potatoes are Safe: But Would You Eat it?

The Food and Drug Administration has recently given a green light to a genetically modified potato engineered to resist a pathogen that is responsible...

One man’s love of sashimi nearly killed him

Sushi lover's entire body left riddled with WORMS after eating contaminated sashimi It is the most expensive - and many would argue delicious - part...

Uruguay Wants to Give Marijuana to Prisoners

Uruguay Considers Using Medical Marijuana To Treat Cocaine Addicts In Prison Uruguay is considering using medical marijuana to treat prison inmates addicted to a crude...

Eight reasons why water fluoridation has failed modern civilization

If you went up to the average person on the street today and tried to explain that most Americans drink, bathe in, and wash...

A Huge New Crater Is Found In Siberia

Siberian crater is just one of many mysterious holes around the world, And The Theories Fly Who or what caused this crater? All of sudden, this...

France bans Monsanto GM maize ahead of sowing season

French government bans GM maize France’s agricultural ministry on Saturday banned the sale, use and cultivation of Monsanto’s genetically modified maize MON 810, after France...

850 tons of ‘decontaminated’ Fukushima water dumped into ocean

The first batch of radioactive groundwater filtered below “measurable limits” at Japan’s tsumani-stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant has been dumped into the ocean, as...