Qingli Niu et al have discovered a novel potential medication that works by utilising the HIV-infected person’s own body to further suppress the HIV virus. Although the drug could complement the current HIV anti-retroviral therapy (ART) medications, it may also be possible that it could lead to HIV remission without a lifetime of taking ART medications. The researchers showed that human BRD4 protein and its associated machinery can be harnessed to suppress dormant HIV virus that is integrated into the infected person’s genetic material. In the laboratory study, the researchers found that the protein BRD4 plays an important role in regulating the production of new copies of the HIV gene. The team successfully designed, synthesized and evaluated a series of small molecules to selectively programme BRD4 to suppress HIV and identified a lead compound called ZL0580. They found that the ZL0580 significantly delayed dormant HIV reactivation after ART cessation in HIV infected human CD4+ T cells. The study presents a promising approach for the development of probes and therapeutic agents for HIV silencing.
Source: Journal of Clinical Investigation 22 July 2019 10.1172/JCI120633