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Anti-HIV Drug Discovery: Challenges and Approaches

Call for Papers

Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is a chronic, life-threatening disease that was first reported in the United States in 1981. Since then, AIDS has been spread throughout the World. AIDS is caused by virus called Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), a pathogenic retrovirus, belonging to the family Retroviridae. According to the latest UNAIDS report published on 1 December 2017, there are around 36.7 million people living with HIV globally with prevalence of 0.8%; among them only 20.9 million people are receiving antiretroviral therapy. HIV specifically attacks and destroys CD4+ lymphocytes (also called T-helper cells), which play an important role in cell mediated immunity. The viral infection reduces the number of T-cells weakening the immune system and making the host susceptible to other opportunistic infections, which finally can lead to death.

There are five major types of antiretroviral drugs used to treat HIV/AIDS. Drugs are classified depending on their mechanism of action as follows: entry inhibitors, fusion inhibitors, reverse transcriptase (RT) inhibitors, integrase (IN) inhibitors, and protease (PR) inhibitors. Currently, two different subclasses of drugs acting on HIV-1 RT are Nucleoside/Nucleotide Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors (NRTIs) and Non-Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors (NNRTIs). Among these, NRTIs play a key role in combination therapy (usually known as Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART)) due to their high specificity and low toxicity. HAART is usually prescribed as a “drug cocktail” or "triple therapy" and its use was initiated in 1996 with the approval of PR inhibitors that allowed its combination with two NRTIs. Currently HAART regimens involve the combination of three or more anti-HIV drugs which generally include two NRTIs and one PR Inhibitor, alternately two NRTIs and one NNRTI, or two NRTIs and one IN inhibitor. Combination therapy is given in order to reduce the emergence of viral resistance. However, management of this disease is still complex and worrisome due to problems such as persistent development of drug resistance, monitoring of therapy efficacy, and poor drug tolerability. Therefore, there is compelling need for the search of novel anti-HIV agents that possess an improved safety profile and better potency and are active against both wild and mutant strains of HIV.

This special issue focuses on “anti-HIV drug discovery including computational design of therapeutics against AIDS.” It will focus on both the development of novel approaches/methods and application of techniques, such as in vitro and in vivo screening, virtual screening, lead identification, optimization, and visualization methods that have a potential in aiding early phases of drug discovery and therapeutics development using structure/ligand, de novo, QSAR, homology modeling, and protein folding-based drug designing processes. We also encourage submissions that evaluate anti-HIV potential and molecular interactions of the extracts/isolated substances/chemicals in detail.

Potential topics include but are not limited to the following:

  • Anti-HIV evaluation of small molecules/macromolecules of natural/synthetic/semisynthetic origin along with appropriate synthetic protocols, characterization, screening, and so forth
  • Computational methods including QSAR (2D and 3D), drug design, HTS, homology modeling, virtual screening approaches for predicting anti-HIV activity, and exploration of molecular mechanistic study

Authors can submit their manuscripts through the Manuscript Tracking System at

Submission DeadlineFriday, 13 July 2018
Publication DateNovember 2018

Papers are published upon acceptance, regardless of the Special Issue publication date.

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