Xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus [XMRV] is susceptible to AZT – Source: Virology, Dec 1, 2009

[Note: AZT (azidothymidine) was the first type of antiretroviral drug to be approved as effective for treatment of HIV-AIDs. However, see also
Rich Van Konynenburg’s message on the Co-Cure Listserv highlighting the strong “black box” warning associated with AZT. See also Vincent Racanciello’s
comment on his Virology Blog.]

The xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus (XMRV) is a human retrovirus, recently isolated from tissues of prostate cancer patients with impaired RNase L activity.

In this study, we evaluated 10 licensed anti-HIV-1 compounds for their activity against XMRV, including protease inhibitors (PI), nucleoside reverse transcriptase (RT) inhibitors (NRTI), non-nucleoside RT inhibitors (NNRTI) and an integrase inhibitor.

• No PI affected XMRV production; even high concentrations of Ritonavir failed to inhibit the maturation of XMRV Gag polyproteins.

• Among the NRTI, NNRTI and integrase inhibitors used in this study, only AZT blocked XMRV infection and replication through inhibition of viral reverse transcription.

• This sensitivity of XMRV to AZT may be explained by the modest homology in the motif D sequences of HIV-1 and XMRV reverse transcriptases.

If XMRV becomes established as an etiological agent for prostate cancer or other diseases, AZT may be useful for preventing or treating XMRV infections in humans.

Source: Virology, Dec 1, 2009. PMID: 19959199, by Sakuma R, Sakuma T, Ohmine S, Silverman RH, Ikeda Y. Department of Molecular Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota; Department of Cancer Biology, Lerner Research Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio, USA. [E-mail:

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