RNA reverse transcriptase and HIV
Name: Belinda H Boman
My question is about the HIV virus - Is the enzyme RNA reverse
transcriptase enzyme the crux of the whole problem with finding
a vaccine? It seems obvious to me that all if a chemical could be
developed to block RNA reverse transcriptase, without causing toxic
effects on the body, then we've got the disease beat. If RNA reverse
transciptase is not the answer, please specify why.
Yes, if a chemical could be developed WITHOUT SIDE EFFECTS, that would
be a major breakthrough. But delivering it into cells is a problem.
Also, a vaccine is usually considered to be something given to stimulate
the immune response without causing disease to prevent infection. The
AIDS virus, like many viruses, mutates so rapidly that we can't develop
a vaccine for one form before another form is out there. Do you need
more explanation? If so, let me know and I'll try to comply.
Belinda, your idea that reverse transcriptase is a good drug target
is right on the money. In fact, the two drugs that are approved by
the FDA for fighting HIV/AIDS are both inhibitors of the viral
reverse transcriptase (the drugs are AZT and ddI)/.
Unfortunately, drugs like this have severe side effects for the
cells of the body that we are trying to protect. Lots or work
if going into efforts to find new inhibitors for this enzyme, and
also for other viral enzymes (especially the viral protease).
Steve J Triezenberg
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Update: June 2012