A compound developed to protect the nervous system from HIV surprised researchers by augmenting the effectiveness of an investigational antiretroviral drug beyond anything expected. The potency of the combination treatment, tested so far in mice, suggests that it would be possible to rid the body of HIV for months, reducing the frequency with which patients must take these medications from daily to several times a year.
Even when people with HIV infection take antiretroviral drugs, more than 50 percent have HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND), which can result in any of a variety of symptoms, including confusion and problems with memory. NIH-supported scientists led by Harris A. Gelbard, M.D., Ph.D., at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry developed the compound URMC-099 to protect against HIV-associated neurologic damage. This and similar compounds would always be administered with an antiretroviral medication; the objective of this research was to test URMC-099 as such an adjunct.
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