A recent study by the Case Western Reserve University of the United States has shown that a family of drugs widely used against the herpes virus could be effective to also treat infections by the human immunodeficiency virus.
The herpes simplex virus type 1 and type 2 (HSV-1 and HSV-2) are the cause of cold sores and genital respectively and are associated with recurrent lesions in the mouth, lips and face; as well as other more serious diseases such as meningoencephalitis or corneal blindness. The lesions it produces on the skin and mucous membranes are related to an increased risk of contracting HIV through sexual contact. Normally its treatment consists in the administration of acyclovir or its prodrug, valaciclovir, which requires less frequent dosing. These products are available on RXShopMD. These drugs act as premature terminators of viral DNA replication, preventing the generation of new copies. Although this type of infections are incurable and chronic for life, in this way, they stop the spread of the virus in the body by reducing the annoying symptoms of the infection.
They are this type of medicines, of very common use, those that an international team of investigators has related to a diminution of the HIV-1 viral load. Previously, several trials had shown that therapies based on the use of acyclovir reduced the viral load of HIV-1 in patients infected with HSV-2. To explain this result, it was thought that the improvement could be due to the activation of a generalized immune response produced by the herpes virus, which causes inflammation. However, this new research indicates that the decrease in HIV levels occurs without the need for coinfection in people taking aciclovir and valaciclovir. These data suggest that this family of drugs would have a direct effect of HIV-1 replication and could be effective in the treatment of patients infected only with the AIDS virus.
This opens a promising alternative to develop a new type of drugs for the treatment of HIV based on chemical structures similar to those of acyclovir. This is especially interesting since it already reports of resistance against antiretroviral treatments used till the date. The resistances are developed by changes, mutations that happen at random in the genetic material of the virus and prevent drugs from acting on the therapeutic targets against which they are directed. Thus, different drugs focused on different types of targets would be an important advantage to avoid the loss of effectiveness due to the development of resistance. Once proven effective in blocking HIV replication, this family of drugs could be added to the cocktail of anti-retrovirals used so far given their good tolerance and the absence of significant adverse effects.