In the fight against HIV and AIDS, we’ll take any weapon we can get, but one promising advance has taken us aback: Researchers at Rutgers Medical School have found that Ciclopirox, a topical cream used to treat nail fungus, eradicates HIV in cell cultures.
And unlike other treatments when Ciclopirox kills the virus, it stays dead.
HIV has been such a pernicious foe because its able to deactivate healthy cell’s “suicide pathway” a response that’s triggered when a healthy cell is damage or infected. (Normally damaged cells would self-destruct rather than risk infecting neighboring cells.) Ciclopirox ensures the infected cells go kamikaze as intended.
So far the results have only been proven in cell cultures—human clinical trials are some way off. But it’s promising that we know Ciclopirox has already been greenlit for human use, albeit for a different reason. CNet reports that another anti-viral drug, Deferiprone, was fast-tracked to clinial trial because it had already been approved for human use.
Hey, if it helps fight HIV, we’ll smear the stuff on toast.