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41. HIV has become one of the most feared diseases of the world community in the last few decades. Antiviral drugs have been developed that help treat the disease, although no cure has yet been found. Many pharmaceutical approaches are being investigated to battle the disease. One possible way to combat HIV invasion of the cell is to develop a drug which could destroy the "envelope" that surrounds the HIV particle.

a. Explain the function of this envelope and how the drug would help stop HIV infection.
Answer- The viral envelope is composed of a lipid bilayer derived from the membrane of the host cell; glycoproteins are embedded within the envelope. Also within the envelope lies the capsid, which in turn encloses the virus's genetic material. [This only answers the first part of the question, and I'm not sure if it's actually describing the function. Now I need help with the second part of it: how the drug would help stop HIV infection]

b. Why has the approach NOT been used on people? ---Need help!

c. Explain the function of reverse transcriptase and how this drug would help stop HIV infection
Answer- Reverse transcriptase uses the viral RNA as a template for making a DNA version of the viral genome. This process is mistake prone, so it creates many new mutations in the viral genome. [Need help answering the second part of this: how this drug would help stop HIV infection]

Thanks
-MC

  • Biology -

    This was discussed 12 years ago, and has been rejected. Goodness.

    a. The idea is that the HIV virus without the envelope could be attacked by the immune system and destroyed.
    b. The idea of devolving cell membranes is dangerous: if we introduced an enzyme that attacked these membranes, they could attack all cell membranes, without selectivity.

    c. See the paragraph Function in Retroviriuses.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reverse_transcriptase

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