THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2016

Yale researchers discover novel way to test anti-HIV drug efficacy

A recent study conducted by researchers at Yale University in New Haven developed a novel system for analyzing the efficacy of anti-HIV drugs based on the way in which the virus is transmitted through cells.

The study was led by Luis Agosto, Walther Mothes and their team of researchers and observed how various anti-HIV drugs respond when faced with direct and indirect HIV cellular transmission.

In direct HIV cell-to-cell transmission the virus spreads through the direct contact of an infected person to a non-infected person from cell-to-cell through virological synapse. Indirect, or cell-free, transmission involves a virus particle growing from one cell, traveling through internal cell space and finding an uninfected cell which it can invade.

In the study, the research team tested various anti-HIV drugs, including nucleoside analog reverse transcriptase inhibitors, non-nucleoside analog reverse transcriptase inhibitors, entry inhibitors and proteinase inhibitors.

The researchers found that NNRTIs, ENT-Is and PIs were effective against viral cell-to-cell transmission, while NRTIs were not. The team also found that when they combined two NRTIs, the drug was effective against cell-to-cell transmission.

The results of the study show that HIV drug resistance may stem from direct cell transmission and anti-HIV drugs must exhibit multiplicity of infection independence in order to successfully inhibit the progression of the disease. The authors also suggest using this model for future studies to test the efficacy of investigational anti-HIV drugs.