Tweaks to its amino acid components boosted its anti-HIV potency by two orders of magnitude. Tests also showed that some derivatives of the molecule are highly stable in human blood plasma, and non-toxic even at very high concentrations.That it is non-toxic is great news but as slusich points out in a comment, how many times have we heard of new, miracle molecules being discovered, cures promised in the next few years? As time passes and we never hear of those wonderful discoveries, we get disappointed and see more of our friends dying.
The bad news now is that VIRIP is costly and will need to be injected. Besides, it may take years before an effective treatment can be developed from this discovery.
In the meantime, I bet you that the shares for IPF PharmaCeuticals GmbH, the company responsible for developing VIRIP, jumped today! Their slogan is Peptides for Life. Cute!
- Münch J et al. Discovery and optimization of a natural HIV-1 entry inhibitor targeting the gp41 fusion peptide. Cell 129: 263-275, 2007. DOI 10.1016/j.cell.2007.02.042 http://www.cell.com target='_new'
- Aidsmap article