Navigation Links
Herpes drug inhibits HIV in patients infected with both viruses

This release is available in French.

Researchers at the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), McGill University and other institutions have discovered how a simple antiviral drug developed decades ago suppresses HIV in patients who are also infected with herpes. Their study was published in the Sept. 11 issue of the journal Cell Host and Microbe.

An NIH research team led by Dr. Leonid Margolis made the initial discovery, while Dr. Matthias Gotte, Associate Professor in Biochemical Virology at McGill's Department of Microbiology and Immunology, along with colleagues at Emory University, helped explain the precise molecular mechanisms.

According to Dr. Gotte, HIV/herpes co-infection rates are very high and carry significant health burdens for those patients who are already coping with HIV.

"In co-infected individuals, HIV disease progression is enhanced by the presence of herpes," he explained. "Why this is the case is not clear, but there's a lot of evidence for it. Moreover, if you're infected with HIV and herpes, it makes it easier for you to transmit HIV to other people. And if you're infected with herpes alone, it makes it easier for you to acquire HIV."

Though it was long-believed that acyclovir was an ineffective drug against HIV, it was often prescribed to co-infected patients in the hope of indirectly treating HIV by reducing the herpes load. Surprisingly, the NIH team discovered that in the presence of herpes virus HHV-6, acyclovir actually attacks HIV directly and is able to suppress its reproduction.

Acyclovir is a "prodrug," which is converted into its active form only after it is administered to a patient. The research team demonstrated that the herpes virus contains an enzyme not present in HIV and it is this enzyme that converts acyclovir into a compound capable of attacking in HIV. Acyclovir by itself is simply inactive against HIV and therefore the drug can only work in people infected with both viruses.

The researchers are hopeful this discovery may open a new front in the war on HIV, particularly in parts of the developing world where rates of co-infection are extremely high.

"No anti-retroviral kills HIV completely," Dr. Gotte said. "We need to administer at least three drugs to hold it in check. This potentially gives us another weapon in the armory, and it's cheap and accessible, which matters a lot in the developing world."


Contact: Mark Shainblum
McGill University

Related biology news :

1. Herpes virus link to complications in pregnancy
2. Penn researchers shine the light of venus to learn how the herpes virus invades cells
3. A compound extracted from olives inhibits cancer cells growth and prevents their appearance
4. Majority of osteoporosis patients not receiving calcium and vitamin D with treatment
5. A home early warning system for cardiac patients
6. New sensory devices will aid Parkinsons and stroke patients
7. Unlocking mystery of why dopamine freezes Parkinsons patients
8. CMV infections affect more than just patients with compromised immune systems, researchers find
9. Smothered genes combine with mutations to yield poor outcome in cancer patients
10. Cross fire from the brain makes patients tremble
11. New treatment approach promising for lymphoma patients in the developing world
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/17/2015)... Pressure BioSciences, Inc. (OTCQB: PBIO) ("PBI" and ... of broadly enabling, pressure cycling technology ("PCT")-based sample preparation ... it has received gross proceeds of $745,000 from an ... "Offering"), increasing the total amount raised to date in ... are expected in the near future. ...
(Date:11/12/2015)... , Nov. 11, 2015   Growing ... reliable analytical tools has been paving the way ... qualitative determination of discrete analytes in clinical, agricultural, ... are being predominantly used in medical applications, however, ... environmental sectors due to continuous emphasis on improving ...
(Date:11/9/2015)... DUBLIN , Nov. 09, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... announced the addition of the "Global ... to their offering. --> ... "Global Law Enforcement Biometrics Market 2015-2019" ... Research and Markets ( ) ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... Nov. 24, 2015  Twist Bioscience, a company ... Leproust, Ph.D., Twist Bioscience chief executive officer, will ... on December 1, 2015 at 3:10 p.m. Eastern ... City. --> --> ... Twist Bioscience is on Twitter. Sign up to ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... 2015 Capricor Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: ... discovery, development and commercialization of first-in-class therapeutics, today announced ... is scheduled to present at the 2015 Piper Jaffray ... EST, at The Lotte New York Palace Hotel in ... . --> . ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... 24, 2015 According to two new studies, fewer ... is something that many doctors, scientists, and public health experts ... with fewer PSA tests being done, will there be more ... Dr. David Samadi, "Despite the efforts made in regards ... second leading cancer cause of death in men, killing approximately ...
(Date:11/23/2015)... ... 2015 , ... Noblis, Inc., a leading provider of science, technology, and strategy ... Intelligence Agency (NGA), has joined the Noblis NSP team as President of the organization. ... community and the private sector,” said L. Roger Mason, Jr., Ph.D. , Senior ...
Breaking Biology Technology: