AZT


The AIDS virus is one of the most deadly and most wide spread diseases
in the modern era. The disease was first found in 1981 as doctors around the
United States began to report groups of young, homosexual men developing a rare
pneumonia caused by an organism called Penumocystis carini. These patients then
went on to develop many other new and rare complications that had previously
been seen only in patients with severely damaged immune systems. The Center for
Disease Control in the United States named this new epidemic the acquired
immunodeficiency syndrome and defined it by a specific set of symptoms. In 1983,
researchers finally identified the virus that caused AIDS. They named the virus
the human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV. AIDS causes the immune system of the
infected patient to become much less efficient until it stops working altogether.


The first drug that was approved by the American Food and Drug
administration for use in treating the AIDS virus is called AZT, which stands
for azido-thymidine. AZT was released under the brand name of Retrovir and it\'s
chemical name is Zidovudine, or ZDV. The structural name of AZT is 3\'-azido-3\'-
deoxythymidine. AZT works by inhibiting the process of copying DNA in cells.
More specifically, AZT, inhibits the reverse transcriptase enzyme, which is
involved in the DNA replication process. When DNA is replicating in a cell,
there is a specific enzyme that works along one side of the original DNA strand
as the DNA is split into two strands, copying each individual nucleotide. This
enzyme is only able to work in one direction along the nucleotide string,
therefore a different enzyme, or rather a series of different enzymes is
required to work in the opposite direction. Reverse transcriptase is one of the
enzymes that is required to work in the opposite direction. AZT works by bonding
to the reverse transcriptase enzyme, thereby making it unable to bond with the
nucleotide string and making it unable to fulfill it\'s role. This whole process
is used by the HIV virus to replicate itself so that it can continue to infect
more cells.

AZT was originally developed over 20 years ago for the treatment of
lukemia. The concept behind this was that the AZT was supposed to terminate the
DNA synthesis in the growing lukemia lymphocytes, thereby stopping the disease.
AZT was rejected at this point because it failed to lengthen the lives of test
animals.

The problem with the AZT drug is that it is not perfect. First of all,
AZT will not bond to each and every reverse transcriptase enzyme in the body,
and therefore it cannot shut down the HIV production completely. The reason for
this is because to put enough AZT in the patient to completely shut down the HIV
production would probably kill the patient. The second, and most serious problem
with AZT is that it also goes into normal, healthy cells and will inhibit their
reverse transcriptase enzyme and will therefore inhibit their ability to produce
new, healthy cells. However, AZT does have an ability to specifically target HIV
infected cells to a certain degree so that it does not kill each and every cell
it gets into. However, it does kill a high proportion of the cells that it gets
into, thereby giving it a high toxicity level.

The formula for AZT is C H N O . The molar mass of AZT is 267.24 grams
per mole. AZT\'s melting point is between 106 C and 112 C. AZT is soluble in
water, which is important so that it may dissolve into the human blood and be
distributed to the cells. AZT is usually taken in a pill format, but it is
absorbed by the skin, which can make it dangerous for people handling the drug.

There is quite a bit of controversy about the effectiveness of AZT. Most
experts agree that AZT delays the progression of HIV disease; the drug may also
prolong the disease-free survival period. However, many doctors still disagree
with using AZT as a treatment for AIDS. Peter Duesberg, a professor of molecular
biology at the university of California, Berkley, says that "In view of this,
[the cytotoxicity level of AZT] there is no rational explanation of how AZT
could be beneficial to AIDS patients, even if HIV were proven to cause AIDS."
This comment stems from the fact that AZT has a very high cytotoxicity level,
which means that while it kills the infected cells, it will also kill perfectly
healthy cells. According to Dr. Duesberg, AZT will kill approximately nine
hundred and ninety nine healthy cells for each