A recently discovered member of the human T-cell leukemia virus (HTLV) family of retroviruses has been etiologically linked to the acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). This virus, which has been designated HTLV-III, is tropic for OKT4-bearing (helper-inducer) T cells. Moreover, the virus is cytopathic for these cells. Suramin is a drug used in the therapy of Rhodesian trypanosomiasis and onchocerciasis, and it is known to inhibit the reverse transcriptase of a number of retroviruses. Suramin has now been found to block in vitro the infectivity and cytopathic effect of HTLV-III at doses that are clinically attainable in human beings.

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