The Asahi Shimbun (Japan)
A durable new drug that prevents HIV from entering human cells and causes almost no side effects has been developed by a team of researchers at Kumamoto University.
The new drug, code named AK602, was reported by the research team's leader, Hiroaki Mitsuya, at the International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific in Kobe on Tuesday.
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 can lose their effectiveness in a few days when the virus changes and develops a resistance to those drugs. But AK602 is different because it reacts to human cells instead of attacking the virus, Mitsuya said.
He said the drug sticks to a protein called CCR5 that acts as an entrance into human cells for the AIDS virus. When the new drug becomes attached to the protein, it can prevent HIV from entering, and thus stop the virus from spreading.
The researchers conducted clinical tests on 40 AIDS patients in the United States.
AK602 not only proved effective against viruses that had become resistant to other drugs, but it also caused almost no side effects, the team said.(IHT/Asahi: July 7,2005)