Azidothymidine (AZT) was the first breakthrough drug developed for the treatment of acquired
immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). It took AZT only 25 months from the first successful
laboratory activity against human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) to its approval by the FDA. Similar
interesting facts and disputes have persistently been associated with AZT starting from its very first
synthesis to the development and approval as drug. This review briefly collates the exciting history of
AZT and, as the different stages involved in the discovery and the development of this drug molecule
gets recapitulated here, could well serve as a mnemonic for the area of drug discovery and development in general.
Keywords: Azidothymidine, nucleoside reverse-transcriptase inhibitor, antiretroviral drug, human immunodeficiency virus,
acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.
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