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Scientists Apply Math Model to HIV to Discover Targets for Vaccines or Drugs

June 21, 2011

Scientists at the Ragon Institute -- a joint enterprise of Massachusetts General Hospital, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University formed in 2009 to bring together diverse disciplines to work on HIV -- "using a powerful mathematical tool previously applied to the stock market have identified an Achilles heel in HIV that could be a prime target for AIDS vaccines or drugs," the Wall Street Journal reports.

The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, "adds weight to a provocative hypothesis -- that an HIV vaccine should avoid a broadside attack and instead home in on a few targets. Indeed, there is a rare group of patients who naturally control HIV without medication, and these 'elite controllers' most often assail the virus at precisely this vulnerable area," the newspaper writes (Schoofs, 6/21).

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