Researchers from the University of Minnesota have detected a new way to use RNA-based drug 5-aza-C to stop HIV infections from spreading throughout the body.
The drug can be altered to DNA before it makes its way into the virus, as it initiates lethal mutagenesis. This is a process where HIV evolves at such a rapid speed that the virus runs itself into exhaustion.
5-aza-C stops HIV from spreading by changing into 5-aza-deoxyC, the DNA form of the drug. This enables the drug to filter into the virus and ceases the replication process from RNA to DNA.
"We now understand the mechanism for how 5-aza-C blocks HIV's infectivity through hypermutation. This information may aid in developing cheaper HIV drugs," Dr. Louis Mansky, director of the Institute for Molecular Virology and lead author of the study, said.
This discovery is important because RNA drugs do not cost as much as other treatments. This may help to make HIV medications and treatments more affordable for people who have HIV.
"More than half of the world's HIV population is concentrated in sub-Saharan Africa where there is very limited access to HIV drugs and treatment,” Mansky said. “Our study could lead to developing more cost-effective medication, which in turn could lead to new and more economical treatments for poorer, developing countries.”