A dideoxynucleoside compound in which the 3'-hydroxy group on the sugar moiety has been replaced by a hydrogen. This modification prevents the formation of phosphodiester linkages which are needed for the completion of nucleic acid chains. The compound is a potent inhibitor of HIV replication at low concentrations, acting as a chain-terminator of viral DNA by binding to reverse transcriptase. Its principal toxic side effect is axonal degeneration resulting in peripheral neuropathy.
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