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Can We Beat the Virus?
Dec 4, 2003

Do you think we will ever be able to keep the virus from being able ot mutate around the drugs? I mean by this it seems as though the virus is has big advantage by virtue of its slopy way or making copies of itself...thus mutating and then the drugs dont work. Also unfortunatly the resistant virus gets passed on and newly infected persons get infected with it thus limiting thier options. Could we develop drugs which actually prevent the mutation or which can change with it?

Response from Dr. Wohl

The current batch of HIV therapies all work the same basic way, rather than being like bug spray (killing the virus on contact), they are more like birth control for the virus. When antiretrovirals are around the virus has a hard time reproducing and therefore can not make little mutant junior versions of itself. No replication, no mutations, no resistance.

So, if therapy can be potent enough to shut down viral reproduction and can maintain that suppression, resistance should not occur. We have potent therapies that can do this for awhile but do not seem to provide sufficiently durable viral suppression for as many people as it should.

With more potent and better tolerated therapies are developed, resistance will diminish. DW



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