Chapter 12 - Clinical Corner

Imagine you are administering an HIV patient’s drug cocktail treatment for the day. The patient has become curious about how the drugs he’s taking actually help him. He points to one of the drugs and says he read on the Internet that it is a reverse transcriptase inhibitor but doesn’t know what that means.

A. Explain reverse transcriptase to him.

B. Then explain what the reverse transcriptase inhibitor does.

C. Explain what overall effect this will have on the virus and patient.

Your friend is feeling the onset of a cold and runs to the store to buy some zinc nasal spray that she saw in an advertisement. She hopes that it will work. She calls you to ask about what she is reading on the box, because you are the only person she knows in the medical field. It says that the zinc in the spray has been clinically tested, and “binds to ICAM-1 receptors on cells” to block the cold virus and “shorten the duration” of the infection.

A. On the basis of this brief description, which stage in the virus infection cycle is this treatment targeting?

B. Explain why this treatment may actually shorten the time that your friend is sick.