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Biotech Medicine Supercomputing

Researchers Determine Chemical Structure of HIV Capsid 90 90

adeelarshad82 writes "Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) have determined the precise chemical structure of the HIV 'capsid,' a protein shell that protects the virus's genetic material and is a key to its virulence. The experiment involved mapping an incredible 64 million atoms to simulate the HIV capsid, pictured here. Interestingly no current HIV drugs target the HIV capsid and researchers believe that understanding the structure of the HIV capsid may hold the key to the development of new and more effective antiretroviral drugs. What makes this whole experiment even more fascinating is the use of Blue Waters, a Cray XK7 supercomputer with 3,000 Nvidia Tesla K20X GPU accelerators."
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Researchers Determine Chemical Structure of HIV Capsid

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  • by flayzernax (1060680) on Saturday June 01, 2013 @08:09PM (#43886195)

    I guess all those gamers aren't useless after all. You can thank me later for my donations to Nvidia's profits. So they could research and develop this technology.

  • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Saturday June 01, 2013 @08:32PM (#43886269) Homepage

    That there are numerous repeating elements in the capsid. Seems like this would be a perfect target for antibody formation. But obviously, that hasn't worked out. Be interesting to know why.

    (Armchair biology is wonderfully simple, isn't it?)

  • Re:Africa (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Saturday June 01, 2013 @10:36PM (#43886737) Homepage Journal

    Yeah, it's amazing how the evil bad guys had technology that was sixty years ahead of everybody else. Lemme guess, their cold-blooded space rulers gave them an R&D lab?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 02, 2013 @12:10AM (#43887031)

    I've wondered along these lines in the past.

    It's almost certain that the drug industry isn't deliberately withholding cures. Competition still exists between companies, and thanks to patents any novel cure would print money for the company that controlled it. It's not like they're in danger of running out of diseases to treat if they manage to cure a couple, is it?

    But I think you're on to something with the pursuit of profit not being the best driving force for medical innovation. The cost of each dead end in drug research keeps going up as the easy fruit has been plucked already, so do drug companies want to put big money into high risk-reward scenarios? Or, as with Hollywood, would they prefer to tweak a few existing and proven blockbusters, pretend it's a new formula, and put more into advertising?

    We've plateaued, perhaps, but the good news is that each new leap in neighboring technologies may lower the cost of research and ultimately of cures. I'm excited about the potential for other drug delivery systems such as artificial viruses or nanotechnology, for example.

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