• Past hiv-1 medications and the current status of combined antiretroviral therapy options for hiv-1 patients

      Weichseldorfer, Matthew; Reitz, Marvin; Latinovic, Olga S. (MDPI AG, 2021-10-27)
      Combined antiretroviral therapy (cART) is treatment with a combination of several antiretroviral drugs that block multiple stages in the virus replication cycle. An estimated 60% of the 38 million HIV-1 patients globally receive some form of cART. The benefits of cART for controlling HIV-1 replication, transmission, and infection rates have led to its universal recommendation. Implementation has caused a substantial reduction in morbidity and mortality of persons living with HIV-1/AIDS (PLWHA). More specifically, standard cART has provided controlled, undetectable levels of viremia, high treatment efficacy, reduction in pill burden, and an improved lifestyle in HIV-1 patients overall. However, HIV-1 patients living with AIDS (HPLA) generally show high viral loads upon cART interruption. Latently infected resting CD4+ T cells remain a major barrier to curing infected patients on long-term cART. There is a critical need for more effective compounds and therapies that not only potently reactivate latently infected cells, but also lead to the death of these reactivated cells. Efforts are ongoing to better control ongoing viral propagation, including the identification of appropriate animal models that best mimic HIV-1 pathogenesis, before proceeding with clinical trials. Limited toxicity profiles, improved drug penetration to certain tissues, and extended-release formulations are needed to cover gaps in existing HIV-1 treatment options. This review will cover past, current, and new cART strategies recently approved or in ongoing development.