HIV-Mode of action of NNRTIs


NNRTIs are a class of anti-HIV drugs. When one NNRTI is used in combination with other anti-HIV drugs – usually a total of 3 drugs – then this combination therapy can block the replication of HIV in a person's blood.

NNRTIs, sometimes referred to as "Non-Nucleoside Analogues" – or "non-nukes" for short – prevent healthy T-cells in the body from becoming infected with HIV.

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When HIV infects a cell in a person's body, it copies it's own genetic code into the cell's DNA. In this way, the cell is then "programmed" to create new copies of HIV. HIV's genetic material is in the form of RNA. In order for it to infect T-cells, it must first convert its RNA into DNA. HIV's reverse transcriptase enzyme is needed to perform this process.

NNRTIs attach themselves to reverse transcriptase and prevent the enzyme from converting RNA to DNA. In turn, HIV's genetic material cannot be incorporated into the healthy genetic material of the cell, and prevents the cell from producing new virus.

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