Emtricitabine/Tenofovir Disoproxil Fumarate. That’s a real mouthful.
However the Gilead Sciences drug, Truvada is one mouthful many people can gladly swallow. The drug has been shown to reduce the risk of HIV infection. A study was conducted using gay and bisexual men across six countries and the results from this indicate that Truvada prevents HIV. The drug itself has been on the market since 2009 as an HIV treatment.
HIV is a virus which has an RNA genome (instead of DNA like humans). Because of this, the virus has to convert its RNA to DNA in order to have an effect on cells it infects. To do this it uses an enzyme called Reverse Transcriptase. Truvada is a Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitor (RTI). HIV also contains a special protein called HIV-1 protease. This molecules cuts up HIV proteins in all the right places in order to assemble the completed HIV particle. It’s like a saw cutting up pieces of wood to build a house. Currently there are drugs on the market called protease inhibitors (PI) that stop this cutting. A combination of Truvada and PIs is currently used to treat HIV with some success. It has been shown by Gilead Sciences that the success of Truvada is augmented by complementing its use with PIs. However this is the first time that Truvada has been tested as a method of preventing HIV to begin with.
The study was conducted in a collaborative effort with researchers around the world. Researchers administered both the drug and its placebo following HIV testing, education about condom use, and (sexually transmitted infection (STI) management to all participants. The participants using Truvada saw a 44% reduction of HIV incidence. These results are extremely promising and indicate that we are one step closer to finding both at proper cure as well as real vaccine possibility for HIV.
What’s left to say but, “Tru That!”