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Author Topic: How does AZT work?  (Read 9679 times)

Johann Mahne

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How does AZT work?
« on: 22/09/2011 09:01:55 »
We are told that the AIDS virus keeps mutating at a rapid rate.
How does AZT then control it?
If there are vaccines for some FLU viruses why are there not vaccines for some AIDS viruses?


 

Offline chris

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How does AZT work?
« Reply #1 on: 22/09/2011 21:49:50 »
Hi johann

AZT stands for azidothymidine. The molecule mimics thymidine, one of the genetic "letters" used to write the DNA code. But unlike the native thymidine, AZT lacks a critical hydroxyl (OH) group on one part of the molecule; this group is used to link one genetic letter to the next in the DNA chain, so its absence has the effect of terminating the genetic sequence. Consequently, when the virus is trying to replicate, if it incorporates an AZT molecule in place of thymidine it ends up with a truncated, defective genome and cannot replicate further.

Unfortunately, used in isolation, resistance rapidly develops as the virus mutates its polymerase enzyme so that it no longer recognises the AZT molecule. For this reason, HIV is managed using combination drug therapy whereby three agents targeting different viral functions are used together. This strategy, called HAART, is associated with significantly lower rates of resistance.

chris
 

Johann Mahne

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How does AZT work?
« Reply #2 on: 25/09/2011 03:51:07 »
Thanks Chris,
 Does anyone know exactly where the AIDS virus came from? Is there any truth that it jumped from animals to humans?
 

Offline chris

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How does AZT work?
« Reply #3 on: 25/09/2011 08:58:02 »
Hello Johann.

I wrote an extensive post about this previously, albeit a little while ago now. The information is still accurate, however.

http://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?topic=699.msg5916#msg5916

Chris
 

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How does AZT work?
« Reply #3 on: 25/09/2011 08:58:02 »

 

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