Researchers have tapped a supercomputer with 3,000 Nvidia graphics chips to simulate the chemical structure of the HIV virus.
The breakthrough, described in the scientific journal Nature today, will give scientists a better understanding of how HIV behaves and thereby create better drugs to treat it.
HIV/AIDS has killed more than 25 million people over the past three decades, with 2.5 million new infections in 2011. About 34 million people are living with HIV.
The HIV virus has been exceptionally hard to treat as it mutates frequently. Part of the key to its strength is a capsid, a protein shell that is like a shield. It protects the virus’ genetic material from drugs. Scientist have long wanted to know how the HIV capsid is constructed, and more of them are targeting the capsid with new antiretroviral drugs. Researchers have used various lab techniques to view individual parts of the capsid.