Scientists at Yale University have made a giant leap in the battle against HIV. As part of their ongoing research, the team, led by Professors William L. Jorgensen and Karen S. Anderson, has discovered two new chemical compounds that prevent HIV from replicating in human T-cells. These compounds, dubbed JLJ494 and JLJ 506, are what's known as non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors. In simpler terms, "the compounds prevent HIV from converting its genetic material into DNA." This is a crucial step in the infection of human cells with HIV, so fully developing these compounds could prove invaluable in the treatment of HIV.
The Jorgensen-Anderson team's research featured extensive computer modeling as a major component. This allowed the researchers to design and digitally test a myriad of promising compounds, and see which ones might bind successfully to the HIV-1 reverse transcriptase enzyme before synthesizing the most promising ones for in vivo experimentation.
In fact, these anti-HIV agents, reports Prof. Jorgensen, could result in HIV drugs that are anywhere from 10-2000 times more potent than anything else on the market right now! Not only would such drugs be potent, but would also be ideal for prophylactic anti-HIV treatment, as they shown very low toxicity towards human cells.
The full article can be accessed here: http://news.yale.edu/2011/11/18/yale-researchers-discover-promising-anti-hiv-agents