Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome: molecular biology and its therapeutic intervention (review) (Abstract)
Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome: molecular biology and its therapeutic intervention (review)
AIDS is one of the most perplexing diseases to confront modern medicine today. AIDS will rank just behind accidents, heart disease and cancer as a major cause of potential life lost in the USA by 1991. Over half million AIDS cases are predicted by 1993 in the United States alone. There has been a great improvement in the understanding and treatment of opportunistic infections in AIDS. The most important concept is prophylactic treatment of the most common infectious complications as the immune system deteriorates. The major advance has been the prophylactic treatment of Pneumocystic Carinii Pneumonia (PCP) with either aerosolized Pentamidine or low dose Bactrim. Some experts advocate a low dose antibiotic prophylaxis for latent toxoplasma and cryptococcal infection in those patients whose immune systems are deteriorating. Prophylaxis would be instituted as the T4 helper lymphocyte count decreases. Finally, any patient found to be lately infected with either tuberculosis or syphilis, while HIV positive, must be thoroughly treated for these infections prior to any immunocompromise. The minimum follow-up of HIV positive individuals should include T4 lymphocyte counts and perhaps P24 antigen levels as well as beta 2-microglobulin levels. As these parameters worsen, patients should be directed to explore safe available treatments such as Antabuse, Naltrexone and Dextran sulfate. Any healthy patient with T4 helper counts under 400 should be directed to AIDS treatment evaluation units for enrolment in research protocols. At present over 100 drugs are being tested for the treatment of AIDS. However, researchers predict that no more than one or two drugs will be discovered over the next three years that will be helpful in the treatment of AIDS. If ever there was a more powerful argument to institute a new way of evaluating research drugs, it is this prediction. Due to the epidemic proportions of this disease, it seems reasonable to test epidemic proportions of this disease, it seems reasonable to test drugs shown to have some effect in groups of three of four drugs per patient. It is well demonstrated that AZT (Zidovudine) loses its anti-retroviral effect at about twelve to eighteen months. Drug resistance is seen in the treatment of a similar infectious agent, M. tuberculosis. Acute infection of MTB necessitates the use of three antibacterial agents. In AIDS infection, it seems logical to test two or three anti-retrovirals combined with one immunostimulant.