AIDS drug zaps bug


PROTEASE inhibitors, a class of drugs used to treat HIV, could provide doctors with a new weapon against Chagas’ disease, a major health problem in Latin America. Chagas’ disease, caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, can permanently damage the heart and nervous system, and kills 50 000 people in Latin America every year. The existing treatments are toxic and often unsuccessful. Now James McKerrow and his colleagues at the University of California, San Francisco, have found that certain protease inhibitors seem to cure mice of infection with T. cruzi. The drugs are slightly different from those used so far against HIV because they bind to a different part of the protease enzyme. The team reports its findings in the latest issue of the The Journal of Experimental Medicine (vol 188,
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