A study published in Nature Medicine reports that the drug RU-486 could be helpful in treating people with HIV.
The researchers found that RU-486, which is also used as a method of early abortion, weakens the HIV-produced proteins and glucocorticoids that suppress the immune system. Vpr, one of the proteins, kills infection-fighting cells and inhibits immune-cell growth. RU-486 reduced Vpr-induced cell destruction by 60%. While further research is needed, these findings are encouraging, because other studies show HIV is much less likely to multiply when Vpr is not present.
RU-486 currently is not available in the U.S.