Fusion inhibitors are a new class of drugs that act against HIV; they got that name because they prevent the virus from fusing with the inside of a cell and so stop it from replicating. Though this term has been used in the pharmaceutical industry since the mid-1990s, it has only very recently started to be seen in the non-specialist press because the first example, Fuzeon (generic name enfuvirtide), was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration only in 2003. Such drugs are members of a broader class, the entry inhibitors, which stop the virus from entering the cell in the first place. These are classed as antiretroviral drugs, like other HIV agents, since HIV is a retrovirus, one that works by generating a DNA copy of its RNA genome inside the cell, the reverse of normal genetic replication, which goes from DNA to RNA.
Page created 17 Apr. 2004
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