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protease inhibitor(prō`tē-ās'), any of a class of drugs that interfere with replication of the AIDSAIDS
or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome,
fatal disease caused by a rapidly mutating retrovirus that attacks the immune system and leaves the victim vulnerable to infections, malignancies, and neurological disorders. It was first recognized as a disease in 1981.
..... Click the link for more information. virus (HIVHIV,
human immunodeficiency virus, either of two closely related retroviruses that invade T-helper lymphocytes and are responsible for AIDS. There are two types of HIV: HIV-1 and HIV-2. HIV-1 is responsible for the vast majority of AIDS in the United States.
..... Click the link for more information. ), by blocking an enzyme (protease) necessary in the late stages of its reproduction. Clinical trials of the protease inhibitor indinavir have shown it to be especially beneficial in combination with the anti-HIV drugs AZTAZT
, drug used to treat patients infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes AIDS; also called azidothymidine. Originally developed in 1964 as an anticancer drug, AZT was never approved for that purpose.
..... Click the link for more information. and 3TC, which act by blocking a different enzyme, reverse transcriptase. Saquinavir, the first member of the class to be marketed, was approved for use in 1995 by the Food and Drug Administration.