Posts tagged HIV mutation
HIV and Drug-Resistant Mutations
Antiretroviral therapies have come a long way in the treatment of HIV. Not only does the treatment slow the progress of the disease, in some cases even preventing AIDS for developing for years, it also allows for a rather normal life. This is all good news, and medical researchers are hoping that this upward trend continues. There is, however, a downside to the antiretroviral therapies being used. That is, HIV and drug-resistant mutations, or, in other words, viral mutation. Thankfully, the reason this mutation occurs may have been recently discovered.
A research team was imaging HIV and viewing computer models, in an effort to understand how and why these mutations were happening. HIV works by invading a host cell and then implanting its own blueprint into the cell’s information center. When this happens, the virus then programs the cell to make replicates of the virus, instead of a healthy human cell. Specific details that occurred during these complex procedures were noted. The team observed how certain common HIV drugs interact with the virus. In doing so, they came to some conclusions that may help explain why these HIV and drug-resistant mutations occur.
For example, when transferring information into the healthy cell, the drug attaches itself and creates a sort of bridge. The information that the HIV is trying to pass on is then put on this salt bridge. It then slides to and fro. Transfer of this important information becomes difficult and, usually, ineffective. This frustrates the replication of the HIV. Mutations seem to occur on the part of the virus in an effort to stop the bridge from forming. New, drug-resistant strains of HIV can prevent the bridge from being put up. This allows the virus’s information to be transmitted into the host cell, ultimately causing infection to occur.
Knowledge is power, so goes the saying. Scientists are delighted to have a new understanding of how and why these HIV and drug-resistant mutations occur. Armed with this information, they are increasingly confident that they can successfully create new medications that will counter the effects of mutated strains of HIV.