Herpes Drug May Help Control AIDS Virus
September 11, 2008
A cheap, generic treatment used against herpes can also lower HIV viral load, researchers reported Wednesday. However, acyclovir works against HIV only in tissues that are also infected with herpes. The findings could help explain why some studies have shown that patients taking acyclovir have a lower HIV viral load, while in several high-profile experiments the drug failed to prevent HIV infection.
A patient does not have to be infected with genital herpes to benefit, as infection with any herpes virus could work, including the nearly universal childhood infection called roseola.
Margolis said his team hopes to find better ways to use acyclovir against HIV, perhaps including it in a microbicide. Acyclovir might also be used to strengthen an HIV drug cocktail, he said.
The report, "Acyclovir Is Activated into a HIV-1 Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitor in Herpesvirus-Infected Human Tissues," was published in Cell Host & Microbe (2008:doi:10.1016/j.chom.2008.07.008).
09.11.2008; Maggie Fox
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.