Researchers from Rutgers New Jersey Medical School have discovered that an anti-fungal drug may be effective in killing the human immunodeficiency virus or HIV. In the study, the researchers used the drug Ciclopirox in cell cultures that have been infected with HIV. The anti-fungal compound effectively killed the HIV. Not only that, the HIV does not re-infect the cell culture once the treatment of the anti-fungal drug in the cell culture is stopped.
Ciclopirox is approved by the FDA from the US and EMA of Europe as a safe treatment for foot fungus. Not only does it hinder the expression of HIV genes in the cell culture, the drug also is key in blocking an essential function of the mitochondria. This causes the HIV-infected cells to reactivate the suicide pathway.
Recent advances in anti-retroviral drugs have revolutionized the treatment for HIV. Although these new sets of HIV drugs are highly effective, HIV patients need to take them for life in order to keep the virus in check. The HIV infection may not totally be cured.
The use of Ciclopirox as a treatment option for HIV patients await further study in future clinical trials. But considering that the drug has already been approved for human use by the FDA and EMA, it cuts off the time as well as the cost of trying to develop the drug as an effective HIV treatment. The new HIV killer and similar drugs may herald the development of other potential treatments and move the world closer to eradicating the HIV scourge.