New HIV Infection Drug is Being Tested
A kind of new HIV drug which can stop one of the early stages of HIV infection and can become a new class of drugs to fight other harmful viruses, is now being tested by German scientists.
The drug, which is being developed by a private company in Hanover, VIRO Pharmaceuticals, it is called Vir-576 and reduce the number of HIV infections in the blood as much as 95 percent in the early stages of the experiment from 18 patients.
It works by preventing the virus to anchor themselves in human immune cells, said the researchers who published the study in the Science Translational Medicine journal.
“What this virus do is like throwing an anchor to connect to the cell,” said Frank Kirchhoff of the University Hospital of Ulm in Germany, in a telephone interview, according to reuters. “It occupies an anchor – called fusion peptide – and prevent insertion into the cell membrane. So the virus can not enter the cell.”
Kirchhoff said Vir-576 is similar to other fusion inhibitors such as Fuzeon, sold by Trimeris and Roche, but designed to block the infection process at an early stage.
According to the latest figures from the UN, approximately 33.3 million people worldwide are estimated to be infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes AIDS.
This virus can be controlled with a series of drugs, but not cure, and almost 30 million people have died related to HIV since the disease first appeared in the 1980s.