Drug blocks HIV in lab study, human tests planned

NEW YORK (AP) — Can an experimental drug that was developed to treat epilepsy block the AIDS virus? A preliminary lab study suggests it's possible, and researchers are eager to try it in people.

Scientists experimented with the drug after uncovering key details of how they believe HIV kills off immune system cells to bring on AIDS. In the laboratory, the drug protected those cells from destruction by HIV. Researchers said it works by blocking the action of a natural enzyme in the cells.

The drug is not on the market. Researchers are now talking with the company that owns it about testing whether it can help patients infected with HIV.

The research into how HIV kills immune system cells was published online Thursday by the journals Nature and Science.

©2014 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.