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Making another major advancement in the treatment of deadly HIV/AIDS, scientists have discovered that a common drug used to treat nail fungus in feet may permanently eradicate the deadly HIV from the body.
According to the researchers, topical anti-fungal drug Ciclopirox causes HIV-infected cells by jamming up the cells’ powerhouse – the mitochondria.
Unlike current anti-HIV drugs, Ciclopirox completely eradicates infectious HIV from cell cultures, with no rebound of virus when the drug is stopped, according to researchers at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School.
Notably, the treatment of HIV patients advanced with the advent of combination anti-retroviral drugs. Although these drugs help in keeping HIV at bay, the patients are required to take them for the lifetime as they fail to eliminate the infection completely.
Scientists say, the perseverance of HIV is partially due to the ability of the virus to disable the cell’s altruistic suicide pathway, which is normally activated when a cell becomes infected or damaged.
A team of researchers led by Michael Mathews and Hartmut Hanauske-Abel, previously showed that Ciclopirox, commonly used by dermatologists and gynaecologists to treat fungal infections, inhibits the expression of HIV genes in culture.
Healthy, uninfected cells examined during this study were spared. And remarkably, the virus did not bounce back when Ciclopirox was removed, researchers said.
The study was published in the journal PLOS ONE.