> One possible way to combat HIV invasion of the cell is to develop a drug which could destroy the "envelope" that surrounds the HIV particle.
LOL. See below.
> Explain the function of this envelope
Hides the viral capsid from the host's immune system.
> how the drug would help stop HIV infection.
With the viral capsid exposed, it would be deactivated by clusters of antibodies, and the cellular immune system would dispose of it.
> Why has this approach NOT been used on people?
The viral envelope is like the host's cell membranes. Anything which would wreck the viral envelope would also wreck the person's cell membranes. (This is why the LOL before).
> Explain the function of reverse transcriptase inhibitors
They would prevent the viral RNA genome from getting reverse-transcribed to DNA.
> how this drug would help stop HIV infection.
Yup. The idea here is that the drug will prevent the viral RNA genome from getting reverse-transcribed to DNA.
As DNA, the viral genome would be transcribed to make mRNA and the mRNA translated to proteins to make the cell do perform operations benefitting reproducing the virus. The DNA can linger in the cell a long time, being transcribed many times, and thus making many new viral particles.
Without the DNA step, the viral RNA would be degraded quickly within the cell, and make no new viral particles.
· 9 years ago