Using the Advanced Light Source (ALS), researchers from Gilead Sciences Inc. solved the structure of an experimental HIV drug bound to a novel target: the capsid protein that forms a shield around the viral RNA.
SIGNIFICANCE AND IMPACT
The work could lead to a long-lasting treatment for HIV that overcomes the problem of drug resistance and avoids the need for burdensome daily pill-taking.
Progress in HIV treatment still needed
Over the past couple of decades, safe and effective treatment for HIV infection has turned what was once a death sentence into a chronic disease. Today, people on the latest HIV drugs have near-normal life expectancy.
However, many people are still living with multidrug-resistant HIV, unable to control their virus loads with currently available HIV drugs. The virus develops resistance when people take their pills inconsistently due to forgetfulness, side effects, or a complex schedule. To some, taking a pill every day is a burden: they schedule their lives around it for fear of missing a dose. To others, it is a stigma, as it makes it difficult to hide one’s HIV status from close friends and family.
Read more on the Advanced Light Source website
Image: An experimental small-molecule drug (GS-6207) targets the protein building blocks of the HIV capsid—a conical shell (colored red in this artistic rendering) that encloses and protects the viral RNA—making the virus unable to replicate in cells. Credit Advanced Light Source