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Japanese Researchers Claim HIV Drug Breakthrough

by Editors in Health & Body , 06 september 2005


A team of Japanese researchers say they have developed a potent new drug that blocks HIV from entering human cells and causes almost no side effects. The drug, named AK602, was unveiled at the international conference on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific in Kobe early July. The scientists say that the drug’s main feature is that it shuts out the AIDS virus at the point when it tries to intrude into a human cell. Current AIDS medicines sometimes lose their effectiveness in a few days because the virus changes and develops a resistance to those drugs.

AK602 is different because it reacts to human cells instead of attacking the virus, says Hiroaki Mitsuya, the lead researcher in the study. According to Mitsuya AK602 sticks to a protein called CCR5 that acts as an entrance for HIV into human cells.


When the drug becomes attached to the protein, it can prevent HIV from entering, and thus stops the virus from spreading. AK602 doesn’t cover the entire CCR5 protein, it only shuts the specific area where HIV can enter, leaving open the sections necessary for normal bodily operations.

According to the “Asahi Shimbun” newspaper, which reported about the results of this research, the scientists conducted clinical tests on forty AIDS patients in the United States.

When the patients took 600 milligrams of AK602 twice a day for ten days, the number of HIV viruses dropped significantly.

Half of the forty patients had taken other anti-AIDS drugs before, but those medicines were no longer effective because the virus had already developed resistance, claims Mitsuya.



 







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