By Cameron Chai
NanoViricides, a company developing special purpose nanomaterials for viral therapy, has reported in its latest animal study that its anti-HIV nanoviricide has attained anti-HIV efficiency equal to a highly active anti-retroviral therapy (HAART) triple drug cocktail.
Anti-HIV nanoviricide treatment decreases HIV levels and secures the CD4+/CD8+ human T cells to a level equivalent to HAART therapy. NanoViricides trusts that its anti-HIV candidate uses a different mechanism when compared to the present system of HAART treatment. Nanoviricides attach to the viruses by imitating the cell structures to which the virus attaches. The company hopes that this type of combination treatment that incorporates HIVCide has the ability to functionally cure AIDS/HIV.
The animal study was carried out utilizing the SCID/hu-Thy/Liv mice model. They humanized immunodeficient SCID mice by introducing donor human liver lymphoid and thymus tissue. Then they allowed the human tissue implanted in the mice to reach a mature state. They infected the mature implants of lymphoid tissue with HIV-1. After 24 and 48 days of HIV infection, it was found that the level of HIV virus was significantly reduced in treated mice when compared to untreated ones. The implanted human T cells (CD4+/CD8+) were secured equally on comparing the groups treated with nanoviricide and HAART therapy.
The study was carried out as a section of the lead optimization procedure in the HIVCide program. The study compared numerous ligands, optimized either by computer-based or silico model studies, in order to develop chemicals that are expected to imitate the interaction between human CD4 and HIV gp120. The surface protein of HIV virus, gp120, binds to the human T cell receptors such as CXCR4, CCR5, and CD4, of which CD4 binding was found to be critical for HIV to enter into human T cells. In this study, the ligands were structured to imitate CD4 binding. It was found that if engineered HIV viruses do not bind to CD4, then the viruses are regarded as non-infectious.