In an article published in the journal “Nature”, researchers explain that they have developed the molecule GS-6207, capable of disrupting the replication of HIV by targeting the envelope of the virus. Even on strains resistant to current antiretroviral agents.
A new step in the fight against the AIDS virus has just been taken. While the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) currently has neither a cure nor a vaccine, researchers from the American pharmaceutical laboratory Gilead are behind a discovery which, eventually could become a new long-term therapeutic agent.
In a study published in the journal Nature, they explain that they have developed a new molecule capable of targeting the envelope of HIV, the capsid, where its genetic material is found. Called GS-6207, the molecule binds tightly to the capsid and disrupts the life cycle of the virus, preventing it from replicating.
Up to 6 months of effectiveness
First tested in the laboratory, the GS-6207 molecule is all the more promising because it has been shown to be effective against several strains of HIV, some of which are resistant to certain antiretroviral treatments.
It was then administered in a clinical trial to 32 patients with HIV-1. A single dose of GS-6207 made it possible to significantly reduce their viral load (between 22 to 160 times) in just nine days. In addition, the researchers noticed that the molecule remains in the body for a long time, without needing to be re-administered. Thus, the concentration of product effective enough to inhibit 95% of viral replication was maintained for up to six months, with two subcutaneous injections per year. A significant advantage in helping patients to follow their treatment.
No marketing authorization yet
However, clinical trials are far from complete and its marketing has not yet been approved. New tests are needed to measure the safety of the treatment and the absence of serious side effects. Another test, conducted on 40 healthy volunteers, eight of whom had received a placebo, showed that the molecule caused in 75% of subjects only moderate and reversible side effects, such as rashes or reactions at the injection site.
According to the authors of the study, the GS-6207 molecule is all the more promising because it can not only be used as a treatment, but also as a preventive in groups at risk. They therefore conclude that it is a “potentially transformative tool in efforts to end the global HIV epidemic”.