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anti-HIV drug moves into larger trials

anti-HIV drug moves into larger trials

Maturation inhibitor shows promise in fighting drug-resistant HIV infections

PA-457, an experimental anti-HIV drug in development by Panacos Pharmaceuticals, shows such promise in suppressing HIV, even drug-resistant strains of the virus, that developers have moved it into larger human studies, BBC News reports. Studies have shown PA-457 reduces HIV viral levels in treatment-experienced patients by as much as 90%.

The drug is in a new class of anti-HIV medications called maturation inhibitors, which interfere with some of the last steps of the HIV replication cycle. PA-457 works specifically to block the formation of a protein that coats newly made copies of HIV. Without the protective coat, viral copies are unable to infect other cells in the body.

The larger clinical trials, scheduled to begin this month, will examine how PA-457 works in conjunction with other anti-HIV drugs in 48 HIV patients with drug-resistant infections.

Panacos officials say the earliest the drug could be on the market is 2009. (The Advocate)

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