Computers help to fight AIDS

HIVScientists at the University of Southern Denmark (SDU) say they have developed a method that uses the power of computers to find new compounds to fight the AIDS virus.

The problem is that drugs that have managed to kill HIV are becoming ineffective because the virus is becoming resistant to them.

The researchers say they have a method to speed up development work in the search for new compounds to fight HIV.  They claim that can increase speed by an order of several hundred percent.

The new mthods use quantum mechanics and molecular mechanics using significantly more powerful computers to hunt for the “needle in the haystack”.

Vasanthanathan Poongavanam and Jacob Kongsted at SDU screened half a million compounds and narrowed down 25 for further investigation.  Of those, 14 inhibit the HIV virus’s ability to reproduce.

* The image illustrates HIV virus – purple balls – entering a host cell.  Once they’ve entered they deliver viral RNA – the purple capsule.  The container carries enzymes needed for viral self replication and the compounds discovered are used to inhibit the enzymes.