In a breakthrough move against HIV drug resistance, scientists have now developed a group of drugs called Maturation Inhibitors that is the first in a new class of HIV drug candidates .
Designed to prevent the formation of Caspsid, a key viral protein from its precursor protein,this group of drug in question, PA- 457, is a derivative of betulinic acid, and interferes with the production of the capsid conical shield which surrounds the genetic material of the HIV inside it.
Approximately 80 per cent of people on treatment for HIV show resistance to one or more of the prevalent drugs and this figure is likely to rise as the treatment options become incapable of coping with the increase in the rate of infection.
The article, published in the Journal of Virology, concluded that the drug PA-457 prevents the release of Capsid only when Gag is in an assembled form, which has a specific three-dimensional conformation , and not in the unassembled form. The study also observed that no other viral proteins or human cellular component are a requirement for PA-457 activity.
Despite the success, the researchers have reiterated the importance of further testingespecially how the drugs work in combination with other drugs..They predicted that it would be at least 2009 before the drug is made available to the common man. It must be noted here,that antiretroviral drugs prevent the HIV from copying its DNAinto the human genome,while the protease inhibitorspreventthe production of new viral particles.
A recent market report put forth by Datamonitor suggests that by 2012, global sales could be just under $12 billion (€9.2 billion), which approximately double the value recorded for 2003 ($5.76 billion).