Novel HIV treatment protected immune cells against HIV for nearly a month.
A single-dose of an experimental compound was observed to suppress HIV for weeks, which may greatly improve medication adherence and reduce the occurrence of new infections as a result.
Some patients with HIV struggle to take their maintain their antiretroviral medication regimen due to forgetfulness or adverse events. Significant research and development efforts have been made towards developing a long-acting treatment in hopes of addressing medication adherence concerns.
The novel drug was also found to protect immune cells against HIV, according to a study published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The results of the new animal study suggest that the investigational therapy may be a favorable add-on to current HIV treatment regimens without increasing the risk of toxicity and adverse events, according to the authors.
In previous studies, the authors used a computational and structure-based design to develop a class of drugs that target an HIV viral protein needed for replication. This class of drug was then altered to increase efficacy, reduce toxicity, and amplify other beneficial properties, according to the authors.
In the new study, the investigational HIV drug candidate was analyzed in HIV-positive mice that were transplanted with human blood cells.
Treatment with the compound resulted in viral suppression and protected immune cells against HIV, according to the study. The drug was also found to boost the efficacy of current HIV drugs.
Most notably, the drug was found to have long-lasting benefits. A single dose of the investigational drug delivered by a long-acting nanoparticle was observed to have positive effects for up to a month, according to the study.
The authors caution that the drug needs to be explored in additional studies, but it shows great promise for improving HIV treatment.
“Our drug candidate works synergistically with all current classes of HIV drugs, as well as some that are also being tested in clinical trials. It enhances their potency and could be a better combination medication,” said senior co-author Karen S. Anderson in a press release.