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

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

November 24, 2015
The UN on Tuesday urged countries to "break the AIDS epidemic" by doubling the number of people receiving HIV treatment within the next five years.

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.

New drug lead identified in fight against tuberculosis

March 1, 2017
Antibacterial compounds found in soil could spell the beginnings of a new treatment for tuberculosis, new research led by the University of Sydney has found.

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

Scientists find where HIV 'hides' to evade detection by the immune system

October 19, 2017
In a decades-long game of hide and seek, scientists from Sydney's Westmead Institute for Medical Research have confirmed for the very first time the specific immune memory T-cells where infectious HIV 'hides' in the human ...

National roll-out of PrEP HIV prevention drug would be cost-effective

October 18, 2017
Providing pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) medication to men who have sex with men who are at high risk of HIV infection (equivalent to less than 5% of men who have sex with men at any point in time) in England would be cost-effective, ...

Regulatory T cells harbor HIV/SIV virus during antiviral drug treatment

October 17, 2017
Scientists at Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Emory University have identified an additional part of the HIV reservoir, immune cells that survive and harbor the virus despite long-term treatment with antiviral drugs.

New research opens the door to 'functional cure' for HIV

October 17, 2017
In findings that open the door to a completely different approach to curing HIV infections, scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have for the first time shown that a novel compound effectively ...

Researchers create molecule that could 'kick and kill' HIV

October 5, 2017
Current anti-AIDS drugs are highly effective at making HIV undetectable and allowing people with the virus to live longer, healthier lives. The treatments, a class of medications called antiretroviral therapy, also greatly ...

A sixth of new HIV patients in Europe 50 or older: study

September 27, 2017
People aged 50 and older comprise a growing percentage of HIV patients in Europe, accounting for one in six new cases in 2015, researchers said Wednesday.

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.