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Anti-HIV lectins and current delivery strategies

Laboratory of Future Nanomedicines and Theoretical Chronopharmaceutics, Division of Pharmaceutical Sciences, School of Pharmacy, University of Missouri Kansas City, USA

Lectins, a class of carbohydrate binding agents (CBAs), have been widely studied for their potential antiviral activity. In general, lectins exert their anti-HIV microbicidal activity by binding to viral envelope glycoproteins which hinders a proper interaction between the virus and its host, thereby preventing viral entry and replication processes. Several natural lectins extracted from plant, fungi, algae, bacteria and animals, as well as boronic acid-based synthetic lectins, have been investigated against the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). This manuscript discusses the nature of HIV envelope glycoprotein glycans and their implication in lectin antiviral activity for HIV/AIDS prevention. In addition, anti-HIV lectins and their carbohydrate specificity is reported. Furthermore, current formulations of anti-HIV lectins are presented to illustrate how to overcome delivery challenges. Although antiviral lectins will continue to occupy a major stage in future microbicide research, further investigation in this field should focus on novel delivery strategies and the clinical translation of CBAs.
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