HBV RTs 2!

I found out through Google News yesterday that the FDA approved a new drug for the treatment of Hepatitis B.

Now, normally, I would have ignored a story like that. Im not really all that interested in antivirals– pharm research is on the opposite end of the research-spectrum of me. And theyre coming out with new drugs all the time (and pulling drugs off the market all the time…). Drugs arent my thing. Plus, Hepatitis B is a DNA virus, not a retrovirus… so, I mean “YAY! New therapy!” but this news story just isnt my cup of tea.

… Or is it? hehehehehe!!


The drug the FDA approved isnt just another drug.

Its an anti-HIV-1 drug that has been on the market since 2001, Viread. Viread is a lot like AZT, the very first anti-HIV-1 drug. These guys are ‘fake’ nucleotides that jam RT, thus prevent the process of reverse transcription. Blocking reverse transcription means you screw up the retroviruses life cycle.

“WAIT A MINUTE!”
you readers might scream. “You just said Hepatitis B is a DNA virus! Why does an RT inhibitor work against a DNA virus?? It doesnt reverse transcribe! That doesnt make any sense. You lie, ERV. Why do you lie?”

Im not lying! Hepatitis B is a DNA virus AND RT inhibitors work against it because Hepatitis Bs life cycle has a reverse transcription step!!!!

AHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!! RETROVIRUSES ARENT THE ONLY VIRUSES THAT REVERSE TRANSCRIBE AAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

When a Hepatitis B virus infects a cell, its DNA genome gets trafficked to the host cells nucleus. There, a really long RNA is transcribed from the DNA genome (just like ‘normal‘), and it gets shipped out of the nucleus. In the cytoplasm, a viral protein ‘P’ reverse transcribes the RNA back into DNA to generate copies of the Hepatitis B genome!

Some of these duplicated genomes get trafficked back into the host cells nucleus (10-20 HBV genomes can be in one cells nucleus), and some get packaged into baby viruses.

Hepatitis B is a DNA virus with a reverse transcription step in its life cycle, so RT-inhibitors work against HBV too! I think thats so cool :)

Comments

  1. #1 Yoo
    August 13, 2008

    You’re right. That is way cool …

  2. #2 Stacy S,
    August 13, 2008

    This is why I come here…

    “WAIT A MINUTE!” you readers might scream. “You just said Hepatitis B is a DNA virus! Why does an RT inhibitor work against a DNA virus?? It doesnt reverse transcribe! That doesnt make any sense. You lie, ERV. Why do you lie?”

    LMAO!:-)

    It’s just sad that I have to click on every link to understand what you are talking about! (sigh)

  3. #3 Stacy S.
    August 13, 2008

    BTW – That “reverse transcription” link is way cool! I vote for more links like that.

  4. #4 xander
    August 13, 2008

    It took me a bit to figure out what the hell you were talking about, but, now that I feel I have some very basic understand of what is going on: that is way cool.

  5. #5 kc
    August 13, 2008

    That is very cool. I clearly don’t know as much as I thought I did about hepatitis.

  6. #6 Lycosid
    August 13, 2008

    Hell yes.

  7. #7 BSE
    August 14, 2008

    Fantastic post. I was wondering exactly how it worked against Hep B and you have provided all the answers… Now heres hoping something comes of the studies into Truvada as a HIV Pre Exposure Prophylactic and vaginal / rectal microbicide…

  8. #8 CRS
    August 14, 2008

    My former physician was involved in the trials for this therapy, and since I have both HIV and chronic Hep B he was anxious to start me on the regimen. I have been on it for about eighteen months and my numbers are excellent. (I only wish he did not have such a heavy client load. That caused me to go elsewhere.) I am very happy that this treatment is now approved for others dealing with this issue.