New Compounds that Target HIV

The battle against HIV is one in which progress has been slow. Antiretroviral therapies, however, have successfully limited the viral load in patients. More good news has come to light in regards to life expectancy. Statistics show that life expectancies of the HIV-infected are quickly approaching those of the general population. Still, there is more ground to be covered. Researchers have discovered compounds that target HIV and stop it from reproducing. Further research may reveal a new way to treat HIV and perhaps even stop it in its tracks.

Some of these compounds include ribonucleoside analogs 8-azaadenosine, 3-deazauridine, formycin A, 2′-C-methylcytidine, and 5-fluorocytidine. Their jobs are to target the HIV’s DNA and induce a lethal mutation. Prevention of reproduction occurs, thus preventing the spread of the virus throughout the body. By blocking DNA synthesis, some of these compounds create so many mutations that the HIV is completely immobilized. Exactly how the synthesis is so effectively blocked—and the processes the compounds go through to make this happen—are unknown. How the mutations occur is also unknown. Although the discovery came as a surprise, it’s one that has a multitude of potential benefits.

Even though more research is necessary in order to completely understand the functions and processes involved in these reactions, there remains great promise. To begin with, these compounds are relatively inexpensive when compared to the cost of creating the drugs available on the market to treat HIV. Next, these compounds are efficient. This leads researchers to suspect that even drug-resistant forms of the virus can be treated where other forms of therapy have failed. Lastly, these ribonucleoside compounds are likely to at least slow the spread of HIV, which is known to be a quickly-spreading infection.