Can This Common Nail Fungus Drug Kill HIV?

Researches believe antifungal drug has unique potential to fight HIV.

BY Michael Regula

September 25 2013 6:34 PM ET

The anti-fungal drug Ciclopirox, has shown potential in eliminating HIV from cell cultures, say a team of researchers at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. The study, published in the current issue of Plos One, says the drug completely eradicates infectious HIV from cell cultures.

Ciclopirox reportedly has a unique characteristic that prevents the virus from recovering when the drug is withheld, unlike other antiviral drugs. This particular aspect of the discovery, say researchers, means that it could potentially end current requirements that people with HIV be on medication for their lifetime.

"The topical antifungal drug Ciclopirox causes HIV-infected cells to commit suicide by jamming up the cells’ powerhouse, the mitochondria," according researchers at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School.

Evaluation of the drug is still in preliminary stages. “Ciclopirox helps eliminate viral infection by destroying infected cells. A drug-based drug discovery program, based on these compounds, is warranted to determine the potential of such agents in clinical trials of HIV-infected patients,” says the report.

Ciclopirox,which is currently only being tested in cell cultures, is no where near ready for market. It will still need to go through clinical trials on humans to study it’s safety and efficacy as a potential HIV treatment. The fact that it is already been deemed safe and approved by the FDA for topical use on humans, could make the regulatory process faster than usual.

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