Main | Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Foot Cream Kills HIV In Cultures

We see a lot of "breakthrough" stories about HIV, but this certainly one of the more unusual ones. Via CNET:
A common drug that dermatologists prescribe to treat nail fungus appears to come with a not-so-tiny side effect: eradicating HIV. In a study performed at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, not only does the drug Ciclopirox completely eradicate infectious HIV from cell cultures, but unlike today's most cutting-edge antiviral treatments, the virus doesn't bounce back when the drug is withheld. This means it may not require a lifetime of use to keep HIV at bay. The same group of researchers had previously shown that Ciclopirox -- approved by the FDA and Europe's EMA as safe for human use to treat foot fungus -- inhibits the expression of HIV genes in culture. Now they have found that it also blocks the essential function of the mitochondria, which results in the reactivation of the cell's suicide pathway, all while sparing the healthy cells.
One commenter at the above-linked story seems to home in on a key point missing from the report.
This is among the worst HIV-related reporting I've ever seen, and the anthropomorphism of a virus is just a small part. Cicloproxi works as a topical cream on topical fungal infections because the drug is delivered at the site of infection: there is no need for systemic transport throughout the body. Hence, "It's obviously still going to take clinical trials on humans to study the safety and efficacy of Ciclopirox as a potential topical HIV treatment" is a load of BS. The trick to beating a pathogen in the blood stream is identifying a compound that can be tolerated by injection or given orally such that its metabolites produce the same result.
CNET does note that since the drug has already been approved for human use, further testing for this use could come faster than usual.

Labels: , ,

comments powered by Disqus