New Anti-HIV Drugs: Research in Stopping AIDS

In December of 2013, researchers at the University of Minnesota published some very striking and uniformly positive findings in the fight against HIV. They discovered several compounds that uniquely targeted HIV cells. These compounds – ribonucleoside analogs 8-azaadenosine, formycin A, 3-deazauridine, 5-fluorocytidine and 2’-C-methylcytidine – stop HIV replication by blocking DNA synthesis. This is achieved by causing the HIV cells to drop their DNA load before they are ready to and not within blood cells. The compounds also cause the HIV cells to mutate so rapidly that the cells essentially mutate themselves into extinction. The findings were a surprise to most of the anti-HIV research community, because the compounds in question were not on anyone’s radar. In fact, they seemed to have no potential for stopping HIV. Another major benefit to these compounds is the low cost of synthesizing them into new anti-HIV drugs. This is always an important factor, as it lessens the burden for the future prevention and treatment of HIV.

In fact, this is what has been occurring over the past year. The new anti-HIV drugs, which were synthesized version of these compounds, have been introduced in tangent with currently approved HIV medications. So far, the reports have been positive. Although the drugs do not fully eradicate HIV from an infected person’s system, the new drugs can be used along with lower doses of more expensive medications. With this tandem approach, the infection is kept low and extremely manageable. Having a minimal viral load results in low immune activity and prevents the virus cells from spreading throughout the body. Because of this symptoms are virtually absent. This translates into lower costs for a lifelong regimen of anti-HIV medication, both for the individual patients and for health care systems worldwide.