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World’s top computer battles HIV


Scientists are using the world’s most powerful computer in the fight against HIV infection.

The researchers are using sophisticated computing technology to investigate the way the virus attaches to cells in the body.

They hope to be able to discover how to prevent infection taking place, which could eventually lead to the development of a vaccine for HIV.

Most HIV therapies so far have focused on treatment once someone has the virus, but this project aims to target the infection process itself.

The study is a collaboration between the University of Edinburgh, IBM Watson Research Centre in New York and the National Physical Laboratory in Middlesex.

Jason Crain, IBM professor of physics at the University of Edinburgh, said: “The idea is to try and inhibit infection by the HIV virus rather than treat already infected cells so one of the strategies for doing that is to design molecules that will attach to the important parts of the virus and inhibit the initial viral fusion events.

Researchers will use the IBM Blue Gene, a supercomputer, to simulate peptides which are surface proteins of the virus and are involved in the infection process.

Copyright © PA Business 2008

University of Edinburgh

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