JACOPIN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JACOPIN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
TREATMENT OF AIDS Efficiency and limits of the tritherapy in the treatment of AIDS. First case (at the top). Without treatment, AIDS virus is multiplying itself freely. Mutations appear randomly in the genome of certain virions, so as to develop rapidly a population of heterogeneous viruses. Second case (in the middle). The intake of a single therapeutic molecule (monotherapy) eliminates numerous viruses. However, the muting viruses having developped a resistance against this antiretroviral molecule can continue proliferating. We then assist to the emergence of a viral population resistant to the treatment. Third case (at the bottom). The association of various therapeutic molecules (multitherapy), seldom acting at different stages of the viral cycle, limits the emergence of resistance. In fact, when a virus resistant to one of the molecules appears, its multiplication is blocked by one of the others antiretrovirals of the association. Nevertheless, the efficiency of the treatment can be reconsidered by the apparition of new mutations confering a virus with a combined resistance to the three molecules and then enabling it to multiply itself. In this case, a new therapeutic strategy must be considered.
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