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FASEB J. 2007 Dec;21(14):3795-808. Epub 2007 Jul 17.

Reverse transcription of the HIV-1 pandemic.

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  • 1Yale University School of Medicine, Department of Pharmacology, New Haven, CT 06520-8066, USA.


The HIV/AIDS pandemic has existed for >25 years. Extensive work globally has provided avenues to combat viral infection, but the disease continues to rage on in the human population and infected approximately 4 million people in 2006 alone. In this review, we provide a brief history of HIV/AIDS, followed by analysis of one therapeutic target of HIV-1: its reverse transcriptase (RT). We discuss the biochemical characterization of RT in order to place emphasis on possible avenues of inhibition, which now includes both nucleoside and non-nucleoside modalities. Therapies against RT remain a cornerstone of anti-HIV treatment, but the virus eventually resists inhibition through the selection of drug-resistant RT mutations. Current inhibitors and associated resistance are discussed, with the hopes that new therapeutics can be developed against RT.

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