Virtually all the compounds that are currently used or are subject of advanced clinical trials for the treatment of HIV infections, belong to one of the following classes: (i) nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs): i.e., zidovudine, didanosine, zalcitabine, stavudine, lamivudine, abacavir, emtricitabine and nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NtRTIs) (i.e., tenofovir disoproxil fumarate); (ii) non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs): i.e., nevirapine, delavirdine, efavirenz, emivirine; and (iii) protease inhibitors (PIs): i.e., saquinavir, ritonavir, indinavir, nelfinavir, amprenavir, and lopinavir. In addition to the reverse transcriptase and protease reaction, various other events in the HIV replicative cycle can be considered as potential targets for chemotherapeutic intervention: (i) viral adsorption, through binding to the viral envelope glycoprotein gp120 (polysulfates, polysulfonates, polycarboxylates, polyoxometalates, polynucleotides, and negatively charged albumins); (ii) viral entry, through blockade of the viral coreceptors CXCR4 (i.e., bicyclam (AMD3100) derivatives) and CCR5 (i.e., TAK-779 derivatives); (iii) virus-cell fusion, through binding to the viral envelope glycoprotein gp41 (T-20, T-1249); (iv) viral assembly and disassembly, through NCp7 zinc finger-targeted agents [2,2'-dithiobisbenzamides (DIBAs), azadicarbonamide (ADA)]; (v) proviral DNA integration, through integrase inhibitors such as 4-aryl-2,4-dioxobutanoic acid derivatives; (vi) viral mRNA transcription, through inhibitors of the transcription (transactivation) process (flavopiridol, fluoroquinolones). Also, various new NRTIs, NNRTIs, and PIs have been developed that possess, respectively: (i) improved metabolic characteristics (i.e., phosphoramidate and cyclosaligenyl pronucleotides by-passing the first phosphorylation step of the NRTIs), (ii) increased activity ["second" or "third" generation NNRTIs ( i.e., TMC-125, DPC-083)] against those HIV strains that are resistant to the "first" generation NNRTIs, or (iii), as in the case of PIs, a different, modified peptidic (i.e., azapeptidic (atazanavir)) or non-peptidic scaffold (i.e., cyclic urea (mozenavir), 4-hydroxy-2-pyrone (tipranavir)). Non-peptidic PIs may be expected to inhibit HIV mutant strains that have become resistant to peptidomimetic PIs.
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