How does lamivudine treat AIDS?

Lamivudine treats acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) by interfering with the reproduction of the virus that causes it: the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). HIV invades cells; it uses cellular proteins to reproduce itself. The HIV virus carries around its genetic material as RNA; in order to take over a healthy cell in the body it needs to produce DNA. It does so using an enzyme called reverse transcriptase. Lamivudine intervenes at this stage of the process, interfering with the reverse transcriptase so that it does not produce functional HIV DNA. Lamivudine cannot kill HIV completely, but it can slow down its reproduction.

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