Cell Culture Evaluation Hints Widely Available HIV Drugs Are Primed for Success if Repurposed for HTLV-1 Prevention

by | Jun 27, 2024 | Publications

Pharmaceuticals (Basel). 2024 Jun 5;17(6):730. doi: 10.3390/ph17060730.


With an estimated 10 million people infected, the deltaretrovirus human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) is the second most prevalent pathogenic retrovirus in humans after HIV-1. Like HIV-1, HTLV-1 overwhelmingly persists in a host via a reservoir of latently infected CD4+ T cells. Although most patients are asymptomatic, HTLV-1-associated pathologies are often debilitating and include adult T-cell leukaemia/lymphoma (ATLL), which presents in mature adulthood and is associated with poor prognosis with short overall survival despite treatment. Curiously, the strongest indicator for the development of ATLL is the acquisition of HTLV-1 through breastfeeding. There are no therapeutic or preventative regimens for HTLV-1. However, antiretrovirals (ARVs), which target the essential retrovirus enzymes, have been developed for and transformed HIV therapy. As the architectures of retroviral enzyme active sites are highly conserved, some HIV-specific compounds are active against HTLV-1. Here, we expand on our work, which showed that integrase strand transfer inhibitors (INSTIs) and some nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) block HTLV-1 transmission in cell culture. Specifically, we find that dolutegravir, the INSTI currently recommended as the basis of all new combination antiretroviral therapy prescriptions, and the latest prodrug formula of the NRTI tenofovir, tenofovir alafenamide, also potently inhibit HTLV-1 infection. Our results, if replicated in a clinical setting, could see transmission rates of HTLV-1 and future caseloads of HTLV-1-associated pathologies like ATLL dramatically cut via the simple repurposing of already widely available HIV pills in HTLV-1 endemic areas. Considering our findings with the old medical saying “it is better to prevent than cure”, we highly recommend the inclusion of INSTIs and tenofovir prodrugs in upcoming HTLV-1 clinical trials as potential prophylactics.

PMID:38931397 | DOI:10.3390/ph17060730

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