May #112 : Ducking Resistance - by Laura Whitehorn

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A Model Activist

Hep Cat

The Brave Lady of Haiti

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Ducking Resistance

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Hepatitis & HIV

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May 2005

Ducking Resistance

by Laura Whitehorn

“Rutgers researchers may have stopped HIV,” AP headlines hyped last December.

HIV treatment pros didn’t jump at the news, because it’s only half true: Many new HIV meds have “unique” resistance profiles and can overcome the resistance HIV develops to older meds in their class—but they’re vulnerable to new HIV mutations. The Rutgers non-nuke innovation—DAPY, for di-aryl-pyrimidine derivatives—promises to “wiggle” around resistance: If HIV mutations prevent meds from blocking one point on a key enzyme, DAPYs can adapt, blocking others. A med that can do this would be wildly welcome, as even newly diagnosed HIVers learn to live with drug-resistant virus.

Treatment activists are guardedly hopeful. “TMC-125, the DAPY that’s reached Phase II trials, seems to be performing well in folks with non-nuke resistance,” says Tim Horn. “But we still don't know” how they’ll fare over the longer run, he adds. To the wiggle room.  

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