|New potential compounds have been found, through a new|
method, to fight HIV.
The battle against HIV cannot be won in the laboratory alone. To fight the potentially deadly virus that 34 million people are suffering from we need help from computers. Effective treatment of HIV-virus is a race against time: Many of the drugs that have been potent killers of HIV-virus, have today lost their power, because the virus has become resistant to them. As a result science must constantly develop new drugs that can attack the virus in new ways.
Now researchers present a method to speed up the important development work up with an order of several hundred percent. It now takes not years, but months or even only weeks to find new compounds that have the potential to become a new HIV drug. Finding suitable compounds that can specifically inhibit the HIV virus, is crucial in AIDS research. The new method is published in the journals Integrative Biology and Plos One.
An almost infinite number of different substances can be synthetized in a laboratory. Some of them may prove to inhibit HIV-virus's reproduction, but finding them is like finding a needle in a haystack. In addition, it takes time to turn an effective compound into a safe pharmaceutical agent that can get on the market.
Until now, researchers have been hampered by slow computers and inaccurate prediction models when they ask computers to identify compounds that may be effective against HIV. Now the researchers have managed to develop an effective model at a time when significantly more powerful computers have become available.
With the new methods based on quantum mechanics and molecular mechanics, the researchers screened half a million compounds and found 25 that were interesting to investigate further. These 25 were tested in a conventional laboratory experiment, and 14 of them were found to inhibit HIV virus's ability to reproduce. The 14 compounds have now been taken over by Italian researchers. The next step is to carry out advanced experiments on these compounds. If they are positive, the compounds may go on the market as a drug against HIV.