Antiviral agents targeting human immunodeficiency virus type-1 (HIV-1) attachment, co-receptor engagement and fusion, collectively referred to as entry inhibitors, are emerging as promising therapeutic agents in the treatment of HIV-1 infection. Viral evolution and concomitant emergence of resistant strains will continue to be an important consideration in the development of any new therapeutic against HIV-1. However, unique challenges facing the development of entry inhibitors center around the highly variable and flexible nature of the HIV-1 envelope protein (Env). For example, the evolution of Env during the course of HIV-1 infection increases the efficiency of Env-CCR5 interactions, which consequently increases Env-mediated fusogenicity and decreases sensitivity to entry inhibitors. This points to a relationship between co-receptor interactions and fusogenicity that merits further consideration in the design of HIV-1 entry inhibitors. It also underscores the importance of considering the biological properties of late-emerging HIV-1 variants in the design of new therapeutics. This review examines the various entry inhibitors that are undergoing preclinical or clinical testing or which are in the early stages of clinical use, their applications in a clinical setting and possible factors that may affect potency against HIV-1.
Keywords: resistance, sensitivity, inhibitors, entry, HIV-1
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