With the advent of 2020, a new global health crisis has broken all over the world. Again a virus is wreaking havoc in people’s lives. Yes, we are talking about the novel Coronavirus which has virtually shut down China and put the whole world at risk.
With the disease reaching as far as the US, Europe, and Australia, concerns are raised over the susceptibility of vulnerable groups. At present, the global disease burden has crossed 200,000 and 176 countries are affected. Countries such as Italy and Spain have lost most of their elderly population due to this.
Check the live coronavirus pandemic map with the details using Johns Hopkins University Tracking Tool https://www.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6
As we know, AIDS patients lie at the core of the vulnerable group as their body is prone to other diseases. The HIV virus weakens our immune system which results in multiple disease syndrome for AIDS patients. Now, the question is how this new Coronavirus is affecting these patients.
Novel Coronavirus Similar To HIV
Coronavirus (left) and HIV (right) structure.
The genetic structure of HIV and the novel Coronavirus has one common feature. Both the virus use similar kinds of surface receptors to enter and infect cells.
All though the CCR5 receptor of HIV is different in structure from that of COVID19 ( the declared scientific name of the novel Coronavirus) ACE2 receptor, yet their mode of action is the same.
Both these receptors help the virus to bind to the cells that they are infecting. And like the HIV virus, the COVID19 too has a mutation which prevents the action of this virus.
Scientists have looked into the structure of the new Coronavirus and found that it has the same receptor proteins like other SARS group Coronavirus and there are mutations of it.
Meanwhile, the SARS-CoV2 virus ki the new Coronavirus is a RNA virus like HIV. That means like HIV it integrates its own genetic material into the patient’s cells and makes their own genetic material from the infected cell.
So, they act by the reverse transcriptase mechanism although they aren’t reverse transcriptase viruses like HIV.
HIV Drug for COVID19 Treatment
Hence, HIV drugs like protease inhibitors and reverse transcriptase inhibitors can act together to prevent COVID19 infection in AIDS patients.
This has led to the use of various HIV drugs for Coronavirus treatment in China. Such is the scenario, even the US has chosen AIDS expert Debbie Birx to tackle the Coronavirus response. So, along with gene therapy and these protease inhibitors Coronavirus infections can be restricted and AIDS patients seem to have an edge on this.
COVID19 Risk in AIDS Patients
Although we are experimenting and trying to establish a connection between the 2 viruses, yet it’s not advisable to be complacent.
HIV infected patients are still at huge risk from any disease, especially a new uncharted infection like COVID19. It’s extremely important to follow the basic HIV Drug therapy including protease inhibitor drugs which are being used for COVID19 infection.
The British HIV Association informs there’s no evidence suggesting that AIDS patients are at greater COVID19 infection risk. However, it is better to be vigilant and follow existing precautionary measures, especially if one shows symptoms of fever, cough, and cold. (Follow WHO enforced COVID19 precautionary measures).
The viruses might not be the same but they are equally deadly. So, be careful of the pandemic going around the world.