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Valacyclovir may help in suppressive HIV and herpes

By jeremyc | March 12, 2015

According to a new study, a drug called valacyclovir, with the brand name Valtrex, may be effective in suppressive HIV in humans. The drug is most commonly indicated for controlled genital herpes.

This study was led by Leonid Margolis, PhD, head of the Section on Intercellular Interactions at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Past research has also found that this drug could suppress HIV in a lab setting, but this marks the first multinational study showing its suppressive effects on humans.

Valacyclovir is an oral medication prescribed for treating genital warts or genital herpes. Margolis said about the study, “These findings are very encouraging. If valacyclovir’s effectiveness against HIV can be confirmed in a larger cohort, it could be added to the mix of drugs used to suppress the virus, and might prove especially helpful in cases in which HIV has developed resistance to other drugs.”

HIV treatment generally involves suppressing the virus so that the immune system can continue to function like normal. However, HIV strains eventually become resistant to the drugs, making a combination of the drugs more effective.

For this study, the researchers looked at 18 HIV patients and compared valacyclovir with a placebo. On analysis, it was found that the level of HIV dropped significantly in patients’ blood stream when they took valacyclovir, since the drug interfered in the reproductive abilities of HIV. Past studies have found that this drug works on people who had both herpes and HIV, but this was the first study showing its effect on HIV alone.

Topics: | HIV/AIDS | No Comments »

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