What are Integrase Inhibitors?
In order for HIV to successfully take over a CD4 cell's machinery so that it can produce new viruses, HIV's RNA is converted into DNA by the reverse transcriptase enzyme (nucleotide/nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors can block this process). After the "reverse transcription" of RNA into DNA is complete, HIV's DNA must then be incorporated into the CD4 cell's DNA. This is known as integration. As their name implies, integrase inhibitors work by blocking this process.
Integrase inhibitors may offer a lot of hope for HIV-positive people, especially those who have developed HIV resistance to drugs that target HIV's two other major enzymes: reverse transcriptase and protease.
Merck's Isentress (raltegravir) was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in October 2007. Gilead's elvitegravir (GS-9137) is currently undergoing FDA approval review (the fixed-dose combination tablet Stribild containing cobicistat-boosted elvitegravir plus tenofovir and emtricitabine was approved August 2012). ViiV Healthcare's GSK-572, is in Phase III studies.
To learn more on how HIV infects a CD4 cell and begins to create more viruses, and where each class of anti-HIV drugs blocks this process, click on the following lesson link:
The HIV Life Cycle (and the targets of each class of anti-HIV drugs)