Untitled Essay Research Paper The AIDS virus

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Untitled Essay, Research Paper The AIDS virus is one of the most deadly and most wide spread diseases in the modern era. The disease was first found in 1981 as doctors around the United States began to report groups of young, homosexual men developing a rare pneumonia caused by an organism called Penumocystis carini. These patients then went on to develop many other new and rare complications that had previously been seen only in patients with severely damaged immune systems. The Center for Disease Control in the United States named this new epidemic the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome and defined it by a specific set of symptoms. In 1983, researchers finally identified the virus that caused AIDS. They named the virus the human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV. AIDS causes

the immune system of the infected patient to become much less efficient until it stops working altogether. The first drug that was approved by the American Food and Drug administration for use in treating the AIDS virus is called AZT, which stands for azido-thymidine. AZT was released under the brand name of Retrovir and it’s chemical name is Zidovudine, or ZDV. The structural name of AZT is 3′-azido-3′- deoxythymidine. AZT works by inhibiting the process of copying DNA in cells. More specifically, AZT, inhibits the reverse transcriptase enzyme, which is involved in the DNA replication process. When DNA is replicating in a cell, there is a specific enzyme that works along one side of the original DNA strand as the DNA is split into two strands, copying each individual

nucleotide. This enzyme is only able to work in one direction along the nucleotide string, therefore a different enzyme, or rather a series of different enzymes is required to work in the opposite direction. Reverse transcriptase is one of the enzymes that is required to work in the opposite direction. AZT works by bonding to the reverse transcriptase enzyme, thereby making it unable to bond with the nucleotide string and making it unable to fulfill it’s role. This whole process is used by the HIV virus to replicate itself so that it can continue to infect more cells. AZT was originally developed over 20 years ago for the treatment of lukemia. The concept behind this was that the AZT was supposed to terminate the DNA synthesis in the growing lukemia lymphocytes, thereby

stopping the disease. AZT was rejected at this point because it failed to lengthen the lives of test animals. The problem with the AZT drug is that it is not perfect. First of all, AZT will not bond to each and every reverse transcriptase enzyme in the body, and therefore it cannot shut down the HIV production completely. The reason for this is because to put enough AZT in the patient to completely shut down the HIV production would probably kill the patient. The second, and most serious problem with AZT is that it also goes into normal, healthy cells and will inhibit their reverse transcriptase enzyme and will therefore inhibit their ability to produce new, healthy cells. However, AZT does have an ability to specifically target HIV infected cells to a certain degree so that it

does not kill each and every cell it gets into. However, it does kill a high proportion of the cells that it gets into, thereby giving it a high toxicity level. The formula for AZT is C H N O . The molar mass of AZT is 267.24 grams per mole. AZT’s melting point is between 106 C and 112 C. AZT is soluble in water, which is important so that it may dissolve into the human blood and be distributed to the cells. AZT is usually taken in a pill format, but it is absorbed by the skin, which can make it dangerous for people handling the drug. There is quite a bit of controversy about the effectiveness of AZT. Most experts agree that AZT delays the progression of HIV disease; the drug may also prolong the disease-free survival period. However, many doctors still disagree with using AZT