Ciclopirox is an anti fungal foot cream that has been approved by the FDA. The foot cream actually inadvertently works for eradicating HIV cells. According to researchers at the Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, Ciclopirox prevents HIV from bouncing back when the drug is withheld too. According to CNET, this same group of researchers previously showed that Ciclopirox blocks the function of the HIV’s mitochondria, which reactivates the cell’s suicide pathway while sparing healthy cells.
One of reasons why HIV is hard to get rid of even with strong antiviral treatments is that it can disable a cell’s altruistic pathway. This pathway is activated when a cell is infected. Infected cells that would normally go suicidal to spare the healthy cells would not be able to perform that function due to HIV. Ciclopirox is able to trick the cells into committing suicide again.
Testing this medicine out will require clinical trials on humans to ensure the safety of Ciclopirox as an HIV treatment. The researchers pointed out that another FDA approved drug that was believed to weaken HIV called Deferiprone was able to skip studies in animals to move forward in a phase I human trial in South Africa. This means that other FDA approved drugs may be able to move faster through study phases, including Ciclopirox. The Ciclopirox findings has been published in the current issue of PLOS One.
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