Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) has the only FDA-approved drug in a class called CCR5 antagonists. A "cure for HIV" will most likely focus on CCR5, top scientists agree.
If not by Pfizer's maraviroc, then a next-generation version of it could be part of the long-awaited cure for an infection that affects an estimated 33 million people worldwide.
This isn't like fusion energy, where the breakthrough is always 30 years away. In this case, a conservative bet is more like 10 years. At most. Actually, a cure for HIV has been accomplished in one patient, which scientists agree amounts to a proof of concept of the CCR5 approach.
Mutations in human genes cause many diseases, from muscular dystrophy to cystic fibrosis. However, a mutation in the CCR5 gene has a huge health benefit: people with it are almost completely resistant to HIV infection. Since that discovery was made in 1996, Pfizer and other pharmaceutical companies have become focused on developing a treatment that mimics the effects of a CCR5 mutation.
But options other than CCR5 antagonists have been reported in a flurry of scientific publications and announcements in July. Interestingly, most new approaches also focus on CCR5.
Here is a summary I wrote that describes the race for a cure for HIV: bit.ly/OGbWQn
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