Researchers produce molecules with potential against HIV

June 19, 2017

As the HIV/AIDS epidemic approaches its fourth decade, each year brings promising news of pioneering research to alleviate the scourge. Add City College of New York scientists to the list with a rapid method to access new molecules that could inhibit the virus that causes AIDS.

The CCNY research led by Mahesh K. Lakshman, vice chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Ph.D. student Hari Akula, focuses on the modification of nucleosides. These are genetic building materials in all living organisms and because of this they possess great potential as antiviral agents.

The ability to rapidly modify the structures of natural nucleosides is at the core of developing potential pharmaceutical agents. This is likely to yield diverse compounds that can then be tested to gain insight into structural effects on biological activity. "Such is the case with modifying pyrimidine nucleosides, including AZT (zidovudine), a drug used in the control of HIV infections," said Lakshman, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

In this context, Lakshman and Akula have developed a simple and fast method for preparing new pyrimidine nucleoside analogues, a family in which AZT belongs, and for modifying AZT itself. Along with their collaborators at the Rega Institute for Medical Research, they have identified several new compounds that are active against the more virulent HIV-1 and the less common and less pathogenic HIV-2.

Their research appears in the Royal Society of Chemistry publication "Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry."

According to the Geneva-based UNAIDS, as of 2015, an estimated 35 million people have died globally from AIDS-related illnesses since the start of the epidemic.

HIV, however, is no longer considered a death sentence following the development of antiretroviral therapy. As a result, UNAIDS estimates that more than 18 million people around the world are living with HIV.

Explore further: Doubling numbers on HIV drugs could 'break' epidemic: UN (Update)

Related Stories

Canadian 'giant' of HIV research drowns

April 13, 2017

Canadian scientist Mark Wainberg—described as a "giant" of HIV science and who had recently been working on finding a cure for the condition—has died at the age of 71, UNAIDS said on Thursday.

Facts about HIV/AIDS worldwide in 2011

July 18, 2012

Here are some key facts and figures on HIV/AIDS in 2011, released by UNAIDS on Wednesday ahead of the International AIDS Conference set to take place in Washington on July 22-27.

Recommended for you

Team tests best delivery mode for potential HIV vaccine

June 20, 2017

For decades, HIV has successfully evaded all efforts to create an effective vaccine but researchers at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) and the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology (LJI) are steadily inching ...

Understanding HIV's persistence

June 19, 2017

Most cells in the human body have a limited lifespan, typically dying after several days or weeks. And yet, HIV-1 infected cells manage to persist in the body for decades. Current treatment for HIV is very effective at suppressing ...

Researchers uncover clues about how HIV virus mutates

June 1, 2017

A new study published in Cell Host & Microbe led by researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center completely maps all mutations that help the HIV virus evolve away from a single broadly neutralizing antibody, known ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.