Molecule in soy sauce might help fight HIV
HIV patients may soon get help from an unlikely source: a molecule used to enhance the flavors of soy sauce.
The molecule, EFdA, was discovered by Japanese soy sauce company Yamasa in 2001. Researchers believe it may prevent HIV patients from becoming quickly resistant to drug therapies.
“Patients who are treated for HIV infections with Tenofovir, eventually develop resistance to the drugs that prevent an effective or successful defense against the virus,” Stefan Sarafianos, one of the researchers at University of Missouri School of Medicine, said in a press release. “EFdA, the molecule we are studying, is less likely to cause resistance in HIV patients because it is more readily activated and is less quickly broken down by the body as similar existing drugs.”
Sarafianos and his team of researchers recreated the exact structure and configuration of the molecule, which is now being tested by the pharmaceutical company Merck.
“The structure of this compound is very important because it is a lock-and-key kind of mechanism that can be recognized by the target,” Sarafianos said. “Not only does EFdA work on resistant HIV, it works better on HIV that has not become Tenofovir resistant.”