University of Utah scientists have developed an injectable drug that blocks HIV, the virus that causes the life-long disease acquired immunodefiniciency syndrome (AIDS). The new drug potentially offers long-lasting protection from the infection with fewer side effects. The drug, which was tested in non-human primates, could eventually replace or supplement combination drug “cocktail” therapies currently used to prevent or treat the virus.
The scientists tested a unique drug called CPT31, that targets a small protein-like structure located within critical pocket on HIV’s machinery. When treated with the drug, the animals did not develop infection. When given after infection, the drug also able to suppress symptoms from developing, similar to treating with today’s anti-HIV drug cocktails.
The advantage of the new drug is that a single treatment may last for as long as three months compared to the daily regimens that people with AIDS rely on today. This approach promises to be easier to adhere, cheaper and could have fewer side effects.
Upcoming human trials will help determine whether CPT31 is safe and effective in humans.