New Long-acting HIV Drug Shows Promising Results in Early Clinical Trials
Report from the 27th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) 2020
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OK, so you all are probably wondering if I’m obsessed with long-acting therapies after the previous article and several others in this collection. Understand that because medication adherence affects the effective treatment of all diseases and many people have problems taking pills every day, long-acting therapies are seen as a way the improve medication adherence (see the article entitled “Medication Adherence….” dated July 3, 2019 ).
At the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in March 2020, the top HIV research conference (held virtually), some new research looks very encouraging for what could be an important treatment. It belongs to a brand new class of drugs called Capsid Inhibitors that work differently from all of the available HIV medicines.
So what is Capsid? Capsid is a specialized protein that envelopes the HIV genetic material. When viruses infect a cell, they inject the Capsid-encased genetic material into the human white blood cell, a CD4+ lymphocyte. In order for the virus’s genetic material to hijack the cell, it must be released from the Capsid encasing it. Capsid inhibitors can block the release of the HIV’s genetic material (viral RNA) so it cannot replicate. They can also block the assembly of new viruses that manage to be produced. This double action makes them very effective in blocking HIV replication.