Gold nanoparticles might improve the effectiveness of HIV drug

Adding tiny bits of gold to a failed HIV drug improves the drug's ability to stop the virus from invading the body's immune system, says the Researchers at North Carolina State University. One can find the full article online in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. Discarded in the past due to the harmful effects, the addition of gold nanoparticles to a modified version of a drug designed in the 1990s to combat HIV creates a compound that prevents the virus from gaining a cellular foothold. The drug, a compound known as TAK-779, was originally found to bind to a specific location on human T-cells, which blocks the HIV virus' entry to the body's immune system. Unfortunately, the portion of the drug's molecule that made binding possible had unpleasant side effects. When that portion of the molecule - an ammonium salt - was removed, the drug lost its binding ability.

The researchers turned to gold as the answer as the element is non-reactive in the human body and would be the perfect "scaffold" to attach molecules of the drug to in the absence of the ammonium salt, holding the drug molecules together and concentrating their effect. The idea is that by attaching these individual molecules of the drug with a weak binding ability to the gold nanoparticle, one can magnify their ability to bind. The researchers started with a modified version of TAK-779, which didn't include the harmful ammonium salt. After testing, they found that attaching 12 molecules of the modified drug (SDC-1721) to one nanoparticle of gold restored the drug's ability to prevent HIV infection in primary cultured patient cells. NCSU.


ashi said...

Some striking facts about AIDS/HIV

* In sub-Saharan Africa, there are currently 4.1 million people with AIDS who are in immediate need of life-saving anti-retroviral drugs.

* Currently more than 11 million children in Africa have lost at least one parent to HIV/AIDS; that number is expected to reach 20 million by 2010.

* There are 42 million people living with HIV and AIDS worldwide. It is a global emergency claiming approximately 8,000 lives every day in some of the poorest countries.

* 1 in every 100 people worldwide is HIV positive: One third of them are aged 15-24.

* Approximately 40% of the world's population-mostly those living in the world's poorest countries-is at risk of contracting malaria. Malaria causes more than 300 million acute illnesses and at least one million deaths annually.

John said...

Hey Ashi, you are right. Thats an awefull and it keeps on increasing. We have to find some solution asap.

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