Prospects for treatment of human retrovirus-associated diseases
Overwhelming evidence has been obtained over the past 2 years that human T-cell leukemia virus type III (HTLV-III) is the primary cause of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. The direct cytopathic effect of the virus on T4 helper cells demonstrated in vitro is probably responsible for the depletion of this critical population of cells in affected individuals which results in a series of devastating immunological abnormalities. It follows that any approaches effective in suppressing the virulent virus would be of benefit to the infected patient. The vast amount of knowledge about retroviruses in general, and the rapidly accumulating information about HTLV-III in particular, makes it likely that a targeted approach for development of antiviral agents will bear fruit. General strategies further making use of chemical and biological agents as well as genetic manipulations are discussed.