Pharmaceutical multitasking

A drug used to treat parasitic infections, once thought to have anticancer activity, could turn out to be a powerful weapon in the fight against HIV/AIDS, according to Baek Kim and colleagues at the University of Rochester Medical Center. HIV can apparently "hide" itself from the immune system, which means virus numbers can grow without detection over a period of time before symptoms of the disease appear. The new research into the antiparasitic drug miltefosine (Impavido) suggests that it can reveal HIV's hiding places, exposing it to the immune system and so preventing the infection building to life-threatening levels. "Miltefosine puts an end to the long lives of HIV-infected macrophages," Kim explains, "The fact that it is already used in humans could accelerate the process of seeking government approval."