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article imageNew drug to combat ‘hidden’ HIV

By Tim Sandle     Aug 1, 2012 in Science
Scientists have demonstrated the potential of new drug which can dislodge reservoirs of hidden HIV in patients receiving treatment.
Scientists have found that chemicals called histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDIs) are able to attack ‘hidden’ pockets of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), according to a press release from Merck. HIV can remain dormant in the human body. This so-termed latency causes a problem for some patients undergoing HIV treatment because current drugs cannot always located the virus and combat it.
HDIs have a long history of use in psychiatry and neurology as mood stabilizers and anti-epileptics. This current innovation is, however, something new.
The research, as Business Week notes, was undertaken by scientists based at Merck Research Laboratories and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Harvard School of Public Health, the National Cancer Institute and the University of California at San Diego.
The results of the study were published in the journal Nature. The newly developed drug offers great potential as a means of directly combating and eradicating latent infections of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
Merck Research Laboratories vice president Daria Hazuda is quoted by Pharmaceutical Technology as saying “We are excited about this pioneering research and remain hopeful for its potential.”
The drug is not a cure for HIV but will help to fight the infection in patients undergoing treatment.
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