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Early Stage of HIV Activation Decoded

January 8, 2013

A Spanish study reported in the journal PNAS explains how early "snipping" of one protein out of a much larger structure of proteins enables resting HIV to become active and infectious. ScienceDaily reports, "According to researchers, this discovery in the HIV maturation process provides an alternative approach in the design of future pharmaceutical products based on the use of these new molecular mechanisms. For now, this work provides a greater understanding of a crucial step in the life cycle of HIV, a virus that directly attacks and weakens the human immune system, making it vulnerable to a wide range of infections, and which affects millions of people around the world."

Instead of using expensive supercomputer time, ScienceDaily reports, to crack the immensely complicated computations required to map the snipping and unfolding of the activation protein, the researchers used spare CPU cycles on home computers, made available to them over the Internet by subscribers to, who make their home computers' waiting time available for public research purposes.

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