New research published in the journal, Clinical Infectious Diseases, has shown that a herpes drug can be used to control HIV/AIDS.
The researchers said their findings challenge the belief that popular herpes drug Valtrex (valacyclovir) requires the presence of herpes to benefit people with HIV-1, the virus that causes AIDS.
The study included 18 HIV patients in Peru and showed that when patients took Valtrex twice daily for 2 weeks, they had decreases in HIV-1 levels.
Experts suggested that Valtrex worked against HIV by reducing inflammation caused by the herpes virus.
This would give the HIV virus fewer active immune cells to attack, reducing the spread of the virus.
Study co-senior author, Dr. Michael Lederman, who is a professor of medicine at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland said the drug doesn’t depend on reducing inflammation to work against HIV.
This means that Valtrex can be used in a broader range of people with HIV-1, and also suggests promising new directions for creating new HIV drugs, especially because some forms of HIV-1 have become resistant to existing drugs.
In addition, Ledermen said Valtrex could augment the cocktail of medications HIV patients take for reducing HIV replication.