UC Merced Professor Patricia LiWang has designed an HIV inhibitor that can protect people against nearly every strain of the deadly virus.
LiWang's inhibitor, a novel combination of two existing drugs, has a strength that ranges from several times better than existing inhibitors to several hundred times better, depending on the strain of HIV. The inhibitor works by blocking HIV from entering a person's cell at two different steps of viral entry. This so-called "entry inhibition" is at the forefront of new strategies for stopping the virus.
There are hundreds of different strains of HIV, LiWang said, and the virus mutates when it gets inside a person's body.
“However, since this drug is a combination of two inhibitors, it would be nearly impossible for a virus to mutate so it wouldn't get hit with either one of these drugs," she explained.
The research is an example of UC Merced's faculty addressing real-world health problems.