Scientists may have discovered the secret ingredient to combating HIV and AIDS: soy sauce.
Researchers at the University of Missouri have confirmed that a flavor-enhancing molecule in the popular condiment, EFdA, may also be used to develop HIV-fighting compounds.
Business Standard reports that these resulting medications could be 70 times more powerful than tenofovir (Viread), a leading HIV drug therapy.
Stefan Sarafianos, an associate professor at the University of Missouri School of Medicine, says this molecule, which prevents the virus from replicating, could be invaluable in treating patients who have become resistant to other drugs.
“Patients who are treated for HIV infections with tenofovir eventually develop resistance to the drugs that prevents an effective or successful defense against the virus,” Sarafianos said.
"EFdA, the molecule we are studying, is less likely to cause resistance in HIV patients because it is more readily activated and is less quickly broken down by the body as similar existing drugs," he added.
EFdA is part of a class of compounds called NRTIs, or nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors, which use their molecular resemblance to HIV to “trick” the virus to cease replication. Currently, there are eight other medications in this class.
The research confirms the initial findings of a Japenese soy sauce company, which accidentally discovered the molecule in 2001.
The pharmaceurical company Merck is currently at work to develop a treatment from this potentially lifesaving discovery.
Watch an ABC news report below.