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Reverse Transcriptase-Is it only related to retrovirus's?

May 27, 2002

Good day, I sort of understand how rt works and the mechanism nukes and nonnukes work in it's lifecycle to interupt repliction.I am confused about a few things though.Is rt carried out by an enzyme, and is this enzyme needed by the body to carry out normal cellular processes?Has the name of the enzyme or enzymes been identified? What I mean, does inhibiting reverse transciptase inhibit other activities in the body not related to HIV? I'm guessing yes, hence the side effects,(just like side effects from any other drug,like statins for example)and does the body convert rna to dna to carry out normal functions(like growth and repair) or is rna strictly related to virus's. If rt does relate to normal body funtioning and there is information on the web(not strictly for Hiv) and you can direct me I would very much appreciate it,I'm just trying to learn as much as I can about the whole big picture, because I feel the more I know the better prepared I will be to cope with drug side effects if I understand what's behind it. Thank you

Response from Dr. Holodniy

Reverse transcriptase is not a normal enzyme in the human body. Although the HIV drugs affect the function of this viral enzyme specifically, they are close cousins to the building blocks needed to make DNA by a human cell. We are just beginning to discover what additional affects these drugs have on human enzymes.

CD4 fluctuation
CD4 and HIV duration

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