A team of U.S. scientists has reported a new long-acting antiretroviral drug that shows potential to treat HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) infection, a new drug discovery published Monday in the British journal Nature. Preliminary clinical studies showed that after a single dose of the drug, the viral load in the body decreased, and the drug remained active in the body after more than 6 months of injection.
At this stage, the treatment of AIDS for all humanbeing sits mainly on efficient antiretroviral therapy. HIV is a retrovirus, and its retrovirus process is done under the action of retroviruses. The antiretroviral treatment adopted by humans is precisely the transformation of HIV infection from a deadly disease into a controlled chronic disease. However, this also means that AIDS patients need daily injection of drugs, dependence on them, and may lead to the emergence of drug-resistant HIV, seriously weakening the effectiveness of treatment. The study suggests that new long-acting drugs are needed to give patients with HIV-resistant strains more treatment options and help patients stick to treatment options.
This time, Steven Young, a scientist at Gilead in California, and his colleagues, described a small molecule they developed called “GS-6207,” which can destroy the HIV “shell” — a protein shell that wraps the viral genome. Based on past research, the researchers designed “GS-6207” that binds it closely to viral shell proteins, disrupting virus replication.
The team found that in the experiment, “GS-6207” showed effective activity against multiple HIV strains and was able to work with approved antiretroviral drugs, making it an ideal complement to combination therapies.
According to a clinical study of 40 healthy individuals, “GS-6207” was generally safe, well tolerated and remained active in the body more than six months after injection.
The team followed up with a phase 1 clinical trial in 32 patients infected with HIV-1 but not treated, and the results showed that after 9 days of treatment, the viral load in the patient shaded (but not completely cleared).
Most small molecules used to treat HIV work by interfering with viral enzymes, but the latest findings support the treatment of HIV infection by targeting the virus’s shell protein.
The researchers say the small molecule does not require frequent administration and therefore could become a candidate for HIV prevention in at-risk groups, which will need to be tested further in future studies.