io9 is reporting that scientists at several Spanish universities and research centers, using computers to create a synthetic molecule, may have found a new approach to stopping the virus’ ability to replicate:
European researchers have used a computer to design small synthetic molecules capable of attacking the deadly AIDS virus where it hurts the most: its ability to produce the genetic material required for replication. It’s the first time in history this has ever been done.
After designing the compound on the computer, the scientists synthesized the molecules in the lab. Then came the moment of truth: Testing the mixture on a real infected cell. And it worked, confirming the validity of the models generated by the computer.
The next step will be to improve the pharmacological properties of the new Rev inhibitors and work towards actual clinical applications. Encouragingly, the terphenyl structures identified in this research could open new ways to approach other therapeutic targets.