Being an HIV-infected person in the 1980s meant having a mostly lethal condition and taking up to twenty pills a day to postpone the inevitable death sentence. Thanks to research done in a collaboration between Belgian, Czech and United States researchers, an HIV infection is now rather a chronic disease for which only one pill a day is sufficient to lead a virtually normal life.
One of the most remarkable developments in medicine of the last decade is the transformation of the deadly disease AIDS to a bearable, chronic condition. The hero of this tale is tenofovir, a drug that kills the HIV virus that causes the disease at its most sensitive stage – when it tries to invade human cells. Professor Jan Balzarini from KU Leuven in Belgium was one of the leading scientists on the team who discovered the drug in the 1990s.
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