How ‘chameleon-like’ HIV virus eludes treatment by mutating

Thursday, December 16, 2010

WASHINGTON - A new study has shed light on how chameleon-like HIV virus constantly mutates into forms and gets away even from the best cocktail of current therapies.

This understanding may help developing better tests and treatments for patients.

Stefan Sarafianos, of the University of Missouri, revealed that the discoveries provide clues into HIV’s mechanisms for resisting two main families of drugs.

“These findings are important because identifying a new mutation that affects HIV drug resistance allows physicians to make better decisions and prescribe the proper drugs. Without that knowledge, therapy can be suboptimal and lead to early failure,” said Sarafianos.

Patients with HIV are routinely tested to track the levels of the virus and immune cells in their body.esults of the tests help physicians gauge the health of their patients and prescribe the right mix of antiviral drugs.

The drugs help prevent the spread of HIV in patients by inhibiting the virus’ ability to replicate.

Sarafianos’ lab determined the biochemical properties that allow strains of HIV with a specific mutation-the N348I mutation-to escape inhibition despite treatment with Nevirapine.

Sarafianos’ recent findings resulted from research supported by five National Institutes of Health grants.

The findings were published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry and Nature Structural and Molecular Biology. (ANI)

Filed under: HIV

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