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Medication To Suppress HIV Infection Discovered, Researchers Assert

Every year, 1 December marks the commemoration of the united fight against HIV and AIDS. 'World AIDS Day' has been raising awareness of the epidemic that kills at least 1 million people every year, since 1988. The theme for the 2019 observance is "Ending the HIV/AIDS Epidemic: Community by Community"/"Communities make the difference".

A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation asserted that a new potential medication has the ability to suppress an HIV infection. The medication works within an HIV-infected person's own body to suppress the virus, which cannot be treated using the available HIV treatments as most treatment methods fail to combat them [1] .

The study also points out that the potential new drug is capable of complementing the existing HIV antiretroviral therapy (ART) medications. Apart from that, there is also a possibility suggesting that the newly discovered drug can cause HIV remission without a lifetime of ART medication consumption.

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As the human immunodeficiency virus gets attached to the HIV infected individual's genetic coding, it causes a constant dormant infection which inherently results in the development of complications in treatment. It is due to this integration the ART medications fail to treat the condition. Consequently, once the ART medications are stopped by the HIV affected individual, the virus multiplies and causes elevated levels of complications within the body [1] [2] .

The head researcher Haitao Hu asserted that "We are the first to show that human BRD4 protein and its associated machinery can be harnessed to suppress dormant HIV. Our findings are exciting because they not only improve our understanding of the biology of HIV epigenetic regulation, they also present a promising approach for the development of probes and therapeutic agents for HIV silencing, hopefully leading to cure of the virus eventually."

The researchers also pointed out that the protein BRD4 plays a central role in regulating the production of new copies of the HIV gene. A series of small molecules were designed, synthesized and evaluated by the team with the purpose of programming BRD4 to suppress HIV, which helped in the identification of a lead compound called ZL0580. This lead compound was then tested in HIV infection models, cultivating the result that the compounds possess the ability to delay dormant HIV reactivation[1] [3] .

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Jia Zhou, co-senior researcher asserted that "We will continue to optimize the chemical structure and effectiveness of this class of molecules and conduct safety testing in cellular and animal studies."

The researchers are looking forward to beginning the clinical trials so that the medication used in the treatment of HIV-infected individuals.

View Article References
  1. [1] Niu, Q., Liu, Z., Alamer, E., Fan, X., Chen, H., Endsley, J., ... & Robb, M. L. (2019). Structure-guided drug design identifies a BRD4-selective small molecule that suppresses HIV. The Journal of clinical investigation, 129(8).
  2. [2] Shameen. (2019, August 07). Researchers discover medication to silence HIV infection. Retrieved from https://www.siasat.com/researchers-discover-medication-silence-hiv-infection-1575020/
  3. [3] Liu, Z., Wang, P., Chen, H., Wold, E. A., Tian, B., Brasier, A. R., & Zhou, J. (2017). Drug discovery targeting bromodomain-containing protein 4. Journal of medicinal chemistry, 60(11), 4533-4558.

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