Breakthrough to New Generation Medicine

AIDS or the Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome has created a lot of terror in the past decade with the prominent cause of panic being lack of cure. It’s known to have originated in the west-central Africa in the late 19th century. And this deadly disease has been recorded to have affected around 33.2 million people all over the world, of which 2.1 million individuals have been estimated to have died because of it. The sole cause of this syndrome; HIV or Human Immuno Deficiency Virus is a puzzle in itself. Till date no one has succeeded in cracking the code behind the severity of the causatum in the concerned protein.

Till date there are no possible vaccines or cures for this pandemic and therefore this factor adds on to the horror that has already been created. Recent trials by the United Kingdom’s National Physical laboratory (NPL) have uncovered ways of analyzing the HIV viral protein. The project promises to give certain results that might redesign future molecular medicines. In collaboration with the biotechnology experts from NPL, the University of Edinburgh and IBM T.J., Watson Research Center published some of their research in the Journal of Physical Chemistry B. on May 2010.

The paper reveals that the main objective behind this experiment is to solve the mystery of the components of the HIV protein. Till now they have been able to draw up a definitive protein structure using molecular and digital techniques. This is one important step as the weaknesses identified can be targeted for the development of an effective treatment.

The basis of this progress was laid by examining a small part of the HIV virus. The part was found to be responsible for fusing with and infecting the healthy cells of the human body. HIV-1 protein is being analyzed for its infection mechanism that will help in understanding not only the HIV virus but also related pathogens. To do so, the research team has resolved to utilize the unique synchrotron facility available at Diamond Light Source.  The Synchrotron light source is an electromagnetic radiation produced by a synchrotron that helps in analyzing components of particular substances, especially biological specimens.

Majority of the affected population is the youth who don’t hesitate in experimenting with unsafe sex, unprotected needles etc. Apart from the juvenile crowd, the next big victims of this virus are the illiterate and the ignorant. With little or no information about the disease, they fall prey to the disease. As mentioned earlier medical science has not yet been able to come up with a cure or vaccine for the virus so the dependence on the ELISA test is ironical too. This is so because even the virus detection can be faulty at times and cannot be gauged. It may show its presence in the first stage or the last. Hence it is necessary that a backup plan is devised that can help combat this situation. Breakthrough of this riddle would prove to be a real boon for mankind as a large population can be saved if an effective cure is found fast.

Nupur Paul