Spanish researchers are reporting that statins may also slow HIV as well (note: I don’t think I’d really call them “heart drugs,” more “cholesterol drugs,” but whatever). (Full text.) Statins work by inhibiting an enzyme called HMG-CoA reductase, which is necessary for your body to make cholesterol. But the enzyme is also important in the process of making molecular switches, which tell your cells whether to change their shape in response to a stimulus.
When mice infected with a mouse version of HIV were given the statins, they had fewer virii in their bodies and more CD4 helper T cells in their bloodstream (this is a good thing). The same effect occured using a more specific enzyme inhibitor–potentially another target for HIV drugs? (via Mercola)
It’s great that someone understands all the biochemistry and molecular biology of this stuff, but I still don’t understand why I have to for the boards.