Scientists at Merck Research Laboratories are looking into a potential way to bring resting HIV out of latency—a necessary step in ultimately eradicating the virus from the body. A Merck-sponsored team hopes to hone strategies that may lead to a functional cure, allowing people with HIV to stop ARVs without experiencing a viral rebound. Merck scientists are investigating small molecules that may be able to enhance the amount of viral expression seen in recent studies of histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors. These are drugs used for both psychiatric and neurologic purposes as mood stabilizers and anti-epileptics. More recently, the drugs have been studied as anti-cancer agents and have also shown promise as a potential component of such an HIV cure strategy, but which on their own seem insufficient to chip away at the viral reservoir.
Cure: HDAC Inhibitors May Fight HIV Reservoir