New hope is emerging for those infected with the HIV virus. The topical anti-fungal drug Ciclopirox is a fairly common drug that dermatologists prescribe to patients to treat nail fungus. An unexpected benefit to the drug is that is also causes HIV-infected cells to commit suicide by jamming up the cells’ powerhouse, the mitochondria — according to a study by researchers at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. And unlike current anti-HIV drugs, Ciclopirox completely eradicates infectious HIV from cell cultures, with no rebound of virus when the drug is stopped. The study has been published in the journal PLOS ONE.
PLOS publishes seven peer-reviewed open-access journals. The journals vary in their selectivity and contain differing amounts of commentary articles from opinion leaders in a variety of scientific disciplines. The journals are editorially independent.
The treatment of patients with HIV has been revolutionized by the combinations anti-retroviral drugs. Although these drugs are highly effective at keeping HIV in check, they must be taken for the life once a person becomes infected with the HIV virus and they never completely eliminate the infection. The current anti-retroviral drugs also reduce the chances of a person who is infected with HIV to infect someone who is HIV negative through unprotected sex but not completely.
Ciclopirox is already approved by the FDA and Europe’s EMA as safe for human use to treat foot fungus so researchers are hoping to be able to get clinical trials underway quickly for the purpose of eradicating the HIV.