With the help of effective drug therapies, HIV patients are living longer, healthier lives. Now, researchers want to improve these drug therapies and develop alternative preventative strategies, such as vaginal gels and creams that contain the same or related compounds used in treatments for people infected with HIV. A University of Missouri researcher is developing a compound that is more potent and longer-lasting than current HIV therapies.
“This new compound, EFdA, is 60,000 times more potent than any other drug that is currently being used to treat HIV,” said Stefan Sarafianos, assistant professor of microbiology and immunology in the MU School of Medicine and investigator in the Christopher Bond Life Sciences Center. “This compound has a different chemical makeup than other approved therapies and creates an exceptional amount of antiviral activity. EFdA is activated very quickly and stays long in the body to fight the virus and protect from infection.”
When a person is exposed to HIV, the virus invades healthy cells that play an important role in keeping the body’s immune system strong. In order to multiply itself and remain in the body, the HIV virus relies on certain proteins. One protein, known as reverse transcriptase, is the main HIV enzyme responsible for viral replication. Effective HIV drugs control the virus by blocking the functions of these viral proteins.
EFdA is a nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTIs). NRTIs target reverse transcriptase and can stop the virus from duplicating and spreading. Currently, there are eight clinically approved NRTIs, but they can protect cells for only short periods of time. With EFdA, patients could be protected for two days instead of few hours and would not need to take the drug as often, Sarafianos said.
“Infection is the result of an overwhelming attack of the virus, but if you manage to keep the viral load low, the body has a mechanism to defend itself and clean up the virus on its own,” Sarafianos said. “The goal of our research is to drop the virus to very low or “undetectable” levels. Patients with suppressed viral loads will have increased life expectancy. Not all drugs work with all patients, and new resistant viral strains develop. Therefore, it’s important to keep adding to our possible options for therapy.”
Sarafianos hopes EFdA also can double as a preventative agent in the form of a vaginal gel or cream. This would provide additional protection to women whose partners refuse to use condoms.
Sarafianos collaborates with Michael Parniak, at the University of Pittsburgh and Hiroaki Mitsuya at the National Institutes of Health. Sarafianos’ recent research was published in The Journal of Biological Chemistry.
Kelsey Jackson | EurekAlert!
Two Group A Streptococcus genes linked to 'flesh-eating' bacterial infections
25.09.2017 | University of Maryland
Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity
22.09.2017 | DFG-Forschungszentrum für Regenerative Therapien TU Dresden
At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.
Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
19.09.2017 | Event News
12.09.2017 | Event News
06.09.2017 | Event News
25.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
25.09.2017 | Health and Medicine
25.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy