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TREATMENT : PROTEASE INHIBITORS
The discovery of the enzyme unique to the virus enabled new areas of treatment to be explored. The enzyme was responsible for cutting up long proteins into small pieces, essential to the formation of new HIV particles. Imagine the enzyme as the scissors on the right, catalyzing the means, of formation of new HIV particles
The development of a compound to inhibit the enzyme could prevent the spread of the virus, and be target specific, reducing any impact on our natural enzymes. Using the scissor analogy again, the inhibitor prevents the scissors from cutting up the protein, and hence from producing more HIV particles.
Several companies invented HIV protease inhibitors, where small pieces of protein with a weak amide link were hydrolysed, to replaced the amide group with a relatively strong carbon-carbon bonds. This allows the inhibitor to bind to the active site of the enzyme, whilst preventing the enzyme from further reaction.
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