HIV protease inhibitor drug. Computer model of a protease inhibitor drug (spheres) bound to an HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) protease enzyme (yellow). The beta sheet (arrows) structure of the enzyme is shown. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome). HIV uses protease enzymes to cut larger proteins, needed during the assembly of the immature virus, into smaller proteins used during the formation of the mature virus. Drugs which prevent this process are of value in slowing or even halting the progress of the disease, especially when used in combination with other drugs as highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART).
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