12 October 2004

New developments in medications

New drugs as well as new categories of drugs are being developed all the time.


New drugs as well as new categories of drugs are being developed all the time.

One of the latest developments reported at the Aids conference in Barcelona, is to target the first step in the virus cycle, namely virus entry. Fusion inhibitor - T20 prevents HIV from entering the host cell by affecting the interactions between the virus and the cell. It stops the viral proteins gp120 and gp41 from forming a stable interaction with the CD4 molecule. The virus is thus unable to fuse with the cell (binding, fusion and entry are blocked). These drugs are still in developmental and testing phases.

Other drugs in the developmental phase are Integrase inhibitors. These drugs are developed to prevent the process by which HIV integrates into the host cell core. The virus is unable to replicate unless it is integrated into the host’s DNA and so cannot infect further cells.

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Dr Sindisiwe van Zyl qualified at the University of Pretoria in 2005. She is a patients' rights activist and loves using social media to teach about HIV. She is in private practice in Johannesburg.

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