Chinese Scientists Begin Human Trial of Chemical Compound To Treat HIV, Hepatitis B
Scientists in China have begun human trials of a chemical compound designed to treat HIV/AIDS and hepatitis B, China Daily reports. The compound, 1,5-DCQA, is extracted from a Chinese herb called Inula britannic, and initial research indicates it could be an HIV and hepatitis B virus integrase inhibitor, Dong Junxing, a researcher at the Academy of Military Medical Sciences, said (Wu, China Daily, 2/23). Integrase is one of the three enzymes necessary for HIV to replicate in the body, and integrase inhibitors would stop HIV from inserting its genes into normal DNA (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 2/9). Dong and colleagues began researching the compound in 1993 by extracting agents that fight the hepatitis B virus from more than 100 Chinese herbs. In 1995, researchers began to experiment on ducks and monkeys. In the monkey trials, Dong found that the compound was effective in fighting both hepatitis B and HIV/AIDS. The scientists now are testing the compound on about 200 volunteers over six months, Dong said. He added that the researchers also will combine the new compound with available drugs to test if a combined regimen is more effective. The new compound might cost less than currently available drugs because it can be chemically synthesized, Dong said (China Daily, 2/23). He added that he and his colleagues have applied for patent rights for the new drug and its synthesizing techniques in several countries, including China and the U.S. The compound is China's first domestically developed HIV/AIDS drug, according to CCTV.com (CCTV.com, 2/21).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.