Broad-Spectrum Antivirals: The Future of HIV Treatment?
May 23, 2012
Broad-spectrum drugs already exist in other areas of medicine. For instance, we have antibiotics to treat a wide range of bacterial infections. Unfortunately, while antibiotics work great at thwarting bacteria, they are largely ineffective against viruses.
Presently we have different antivirals that tend to treat specific diseases (e.g., Tamiflu only treats influenza, and most HIV medications only treat HIV). However, as people with HIV are well aware, viruses mutate and grow resistant to current antivirals. WIRED recently published an article highlighting three new approaches to antiviral treatment that may be able to stop a wide range of viruses, but without the risk of the viruses becoming resistant. By Warren Tong From TheBody.com
IS IT TRUE OR FALSE??? I TRUST THIS SITE AND I AM VERY EXCITE IT IF THIS IS TRUE.
Response from Dr. Young
Hi and thanks for posting.
Neither true or false. The answer is that the article describes early research strategies.
There are many differences between bacteria (which use their own unique machinery to replicate) and viruses (which use the human cell to replicate) that make the strategies of broad-spectrum treatments different.
The Wired publication highlighted a few of many very (key word: very) early-stage attempts to find broad spectrum antiviral treatments.
To quote Warren, "so, while all three of these approaches show a lot of promise, we shouldn't get our hopes up just yet. There are dangers to be wary of. For instance, we still don't fully understand the viral ecology in our bodies. Just like some bacteria naturally live inside our bodies and are helpful to our health, we may also be a home for "good" viruses that we don't know about, but that help us stay healthy and maintain our bodies' equilibrium. Still, further research on these approaches is definitely welcome. Hopefully more good results will follow."
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