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Could this be the Answer to HIV? Plant Compound is More Powerful Than AZT, Scientists Find

By Angel Lee, | June 15, 2017

Could this be the Answer to HIV? Plant Compound is More Powerful Than AZT, Scientists Find

Could this be the Answer to HIV? Plant Compound is More Powerful Than AZT, Scientists Find

Traditionally, it can be recalled that a Southeast Asian plant named as willow-leaved Justicia has been used as a remedy for arthritis and rheumatism. Now, a new study has recently shed light to help eradicate the ongoing problem in HIV. The plant's chemical, known as "patentiflorin A" has been identified in a screening of more than 4,500 plant extracts that contains a potent anti-HIV compound more powerful than the drug AZT for their effect against the HIV virus.

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A Collective Finding

The study has been conducted by a team of scientists from the University of Illinois at Chicago, Hong Kong Baptist University, and the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology working together as an International Cooperative Biodiversity Group. It was found that the discovery was one of the results of a multi-year research partnership that allegedly aims to look for natural products that may have applications in health and medicine. In addition, the partnership will also work to support sustainable use of these resources in low-income countries, Medical Xpress reports.

The Willow-leaved Justicia

More than 10 years ago, it was found that the willow-leaved Justicia extract had been taken from the plant's leaves, stems and roots, which had been collected in Cuc Phuong National Park in Hanoi, Vietnam. Accordingly, the researchers have analyzed the extract along with thousands of others as part of their efforts to identify new drugs against HIV, tuberculosis, malaria and cancer. The researchers have explained that they have zeroed in on patentiflorin A because of its ability to inhibit an enzyme needed for HIV to incorporate its genetic code into a cell's DNA.

In one of his statements, Lijun Rong, one of the study's lead researchers said that Patentiflorin A was able to inhibit the action of reverse transcriptase much more effectively than AZT. Furthermore, the plant's compound was able to show its efficacy in the earliest stages of HIV infection when the virus enters macrophage cells, and alter the infection when it is present in T cells of the immune system. As of the press time, researchers have revealed that they were also able to synthesize patentiflorin A and is aiming to make the drug in the lab rather than in farms.

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