A Surprising Side Effect: Nail Fungus Cream a Potential Cure for HIV

Drug side effects are usually associated with unpleasantries like diarrhea, headaches, and nausea. However, a team of Rutgers Medical School researchers discovered an unlikely side effect for a drug commonly prescribed to treat toenail fungus: HIV cell death. At least, that’s the case in cell cultures. Clinical human trials are still needed, but the early findings are very exciting for scientists. Could the cure for HIV really have been beneath our noses the whole time?

HIV treatment

Existing HIV treatments can keep infected cells at bay, but cannot kill them. Image Source: CDC.gov

How Does Nail Fungus Medicine Kill HIV?

The drug Ciclopirox is FDA approved for the treatment of foot fungus, but scientists recently discovered that it inhibits the expression of HIV genes in culture. The drug blocks the essential function of the cell’s mitochondria, which activates the cell’s suicide pathway, while sparing healthy cells from destruction.

Unlike the current drugs used to treat HIV, the virus did not return when the drug was stopped, says NY Daily News. Lead researcher Michael Matthews says this treatment is unique because it actually causes HIV cell death, rather than just keeping the HIV cells at bay.

ciclopirox HIV

NJ scientists discover that Ciclopirox foot fungus cream kills HIV cells in culture. Image Source: Newslyne.com

Are We Close To A Cure?

Clinical human trials are still needed to determine the safety and efficiency of Ciclopirox as a topical HIV treatment, the scientists say. The fact that it’s already received FDA clearance as safe for use on humans is a plus, which can expedite the regulatory process slightly. On the downside, a systemic treatment would need to be developed — rather than a topical cream — so that could take time as well.

Dr. Robert Gallo, HIV researcher and professor of medicine at the University of Maryland, says that it’s exciting that Ciclopirox kills HIV cells. “But topical treatment would be for prevention, not as a therapy,” he added. “The only way you could use it as a therapy is systemically, and it would be unlikely this could be used systemically.”

toenail fungus prevention

The SteriShoe UV shoe sanitizer is a complementary treatment to prevent recurrence of toenail fungus. Image Source: Tuvie.com

We Can’t Cure HIV, But…

We love intriguing science stories here at SteriShoe. It was our love for science that led us down the path to create a novel invention that helped chronic sufferers of toenail fungus, athlete’s foot, diabetic ulcers and shoe odor. The SteriShoe UV shoe sanitizer uses UV-C light to kill up to 99.9% of the harmful microbes (bacteria, yeast, fungus, viruses) harbored in footwear. We found that people were washing their socks, towels and bed sheets, but their foot fungus was allowed to fester inside their footwear for months on end.

The SteriShoe sanitizer makes a terrific complementary therapy for anyone who is currently taking Ciclopirox for the treatment of foot fungus. Best of all, it’s affordable enough to buy it for yourself and keep it in your home for regular use. Chronic toenail fungus sufferers know it’s not enough to simply treat the fungus in the body. If you stick your foot back into a contaminated shoe, you will come down with the fungus all over again. Foot fungus treatments can be long and tedious as it is. Limiting your exposure to pathogens is an important part of foot hygiene, which is why the SteriShoe germicidal UV lamp is podiatrist-recommended.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply