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ST. LOUIS - An investigative team at Saint Louis University School of Medicine is one step closer to mapping HIV and making it easier to develop drugs to combat its spread in humans, according to a study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Dr. Duane Grandgenett, professor at SLU's Institute of Molecular Virology and senior author of the study, used a retrovirus similar to HIV to develop a clear picture of how integrase inhibitors interact with said virus.

Integrase is the component of all retroviruses responsible for spreading viral DNA into human cell DNA. An inhibitor would thus prevent the integrase from inserting viral DNA and thus slow the spread of the illness in a person's body.

Grandgenett said the tests successfully isolated an integrase DNA inhibitor, paving the way for using x-ray crystallography to take better pictures of the process.

If medical scientists can properly map how inhibitor drugs interact with integrase, they can develop better medicines and perhaps develop a cure for HIV.

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