Japanese Scientists Introduce New HIV Drug

Japanese researchers have developed a durable new drug that blocks HIV from entering human cells and causes almost no side effects.

The new drug, code named AK602, was unveiled by Hiroaki Mitsuya, leader of the research team at Kumamoto University, at the International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific in Kobe Tuesday, the Asahi Shimbun reported Wednesday.

The drug’s main feature is that it shuts out the AIDS virus at the point when it tries to intrude into a human cell.

Current AIDS medications often lose their effectiveness after a few days due to the virus’ resistance, but the AK602 reacts to human cells instead of attacking the virus, said Mitsuya, a university professor.

When the new drug becomes attached to the protein that acts as an entrance into human cells for the AIDS virus, it can prevent HIV from entering.

The researchers conducted clinical tests on 40 AIDS patients in the United States. When the patients took 0.02 ounces of AK602 twice a day for 10 days, the number of HIV viruses dropped to an average of 1 percent.

Almost no side effects were reported, the professor said.

Source: United Press International

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Revision date: June 20, 2011
Last revised: by Sebastian Scheller, MD, ScD