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Drug developed that attacks HIV in a new way

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J220:
POMEZIA, Italy, Feb. 23 (UPI) -- Italian researchers say they've developed an AIDS drug that attacks the disease in a new way.

"The molecule, MK518, has a wholly new mechanism," Gennaro Ciliberto, head of a molecular biology research institute run by drug company Merck, told ANSA.

Ciliberto said MK518 and other "integrase inhibitors" may help AIDS patients who have developed a resistance to other anti-retroviral drugs.

Integrase is an enzyme in HIV that allows the virus to integrate with body cells, ANSA reported.

"If you knock integrase out of the picture, HIV can't possibly infect anyone because the virus isn't able to replicate," Ciliberto told ANSA.

ANSA reported Merck expects U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for the drug before the end of 2007.

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