Researchers have found that a current HIV drug called maraviroc could be a potential therapy for Staphylococcus aureus, a pathogen linked to hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations each year as well as being a common hospital ‘superbug’.
According to the research brief, the HIV drug blocks the entry of HIV (human immune-deficiency virus) into cells. This includes cells that can initiate an immune response and help the body to fight in infection. Research has shown that the drug can also block certain strains of Staphylococcus aureus from entering cells.
What is remarkable is that it is unusual for a drug to be effective against a bacterium and one to be effective against a virus to target the same cell receptor.
Staphylococcus aureus causes toxic shock syndrome, pneumonia, and food poisoning, among other illnesses, and is becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics (making it one of the so-termed ‘superbugs’).
Based on these findings, the investigators aim to run future human clinical trials will determine whether drugs that block CCR5, such as maraviroc, could help the immune system to control the infection and potentially save lives.
The study was carried out by the NYU School of Medicine and was published in Nature. The research was a collaborative effort between Dr. Torres, a bacteriologist, and immunologist Derya Unutmaz, MD, associate professor of microbiology and pathology and medicine.
The drug maraviroc was developed by the drug company Pfizer in its UK labs located in Sandwich.