Early nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors for the treatment of HIV: a brief history of stavudine (D4T) and its comparison with other dideoxynucleosides.

Abstract:

The occasion of this 25th anniversary issue encouraged us to reminisce about the important history of the discovery of the dideoxynucleoside analogues for the treatment of HIV/AIDS and to chronicle our thoughts about a particular exciting and rewarding period of our scientific careers. Following the identification of the anti-HIV activity of zidovudine (AZT), we participated in the urgent quest to discover optimal treatments of HIV infection and AIDS. A number of previously synthesized nucleoside analogues were comparatively evaluated, and stavudine (D4T) emerged as a promising candidate for development. Following clinical evaluation, D4T became a mainstay of the initial antiretroviral combination therapy, prolonging and saving numerous lives. It has only recently been supplanted by better-tolerated treatments. This article forms part of a special issue of Antiviral Research marking the 25th anniversary of antiretroviral drug discovery and development, vol. 85, issue 1, 2010.

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