HIV/AIDS Drug Discovery and Research

The identification of viral and cellular drug targets is essential for fueling the drug development pipeline. Early drug discovery efforts concentrated on a relatively small number of viral targets such as HIV reverse transcriptase (an enzyme that catalyzes the synthesis of viral DNA within infected cells from the RNA template carried by infectious virions) and HIV protease (an enzyme that cleaves and processes viral precursor proteins allowing virion maturation). Treatment regimens containing combinations of reverse transcriptase and protease inhibitors, commonly known as highly active antiretroviral therapy, or HAART, revolutionized the treatment of people with HIV by markedly lowering viral load and decreasing the incidence of AIDS-associated opportunistic infections

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