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FDA approves drug that fights HIV in new way

October 12, 2007

The Food and Drug Administration on Friday approved the first of a new class of HIV drugs that attacks the virus in a different way.Isentress, developed by Merck & Co., is designed for patients who have shown resistance to current treatments.The drug has been approved for adults who already have been receiving treatment, but more testing is necessary before it is approved for new HIV patients or children, the company said in a statement.Isentress belongs to a class of drugs called integrase inhibitors. These drugs work by blocking the integrase enzyme, which helps HIV replicate by inserting its DNA into new cells. Isentress is the first drug in the class to win FDA approval.Dr. Anthony Fauci, a noted HIV expert and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, said the FDA’s approval “will be most welcome in the community of physicians taking care of HIV-infected patients.””Its mechanism of action is particularly important in that it blocks the ability of the virus to integrate itself into the genes of cells,” Fauci said. “This property of the virus to integrate is important in establishing the reservoir of virus in the body that has made it extremely difficult to eradicate HIV, even with prolonged treatment.”

Source: CNN

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