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THE EXPLOSIVE spread of Aids in Africa threatens to undermine the health and social improvements of the past 20 years, causing widespread economic collapse across the entire region.
A network of testing centres throughout Africa is reporting prevalence rates for HIV which were unheard of just five years ago.
An HIV capsid contains hundreds of identical proteins, which are arranged to form a network of six-sided and five-sided structures.
And, each of these structures has a tiny pore at the center.
However, the new model predicts that treatment should start as soon as possible after infection to prevent AIDS from developing in the long term.
The data were then analyzed on a second supercomputer, Blue Waters, at the university’s National Center for Supercomputing Applications, These efforts revealed several new properties tied to the capsid’s behaviour.
It features 24 hours of battery life and claims to be a 'mini-disco on the move'.
According to Juan R Perilla, a research scientist at the University of Illinois who led the study, this also uncovers potential vulnerabilities that could be exploited to develop more effective drugs.‘We are learning the details of the HIV capsid system, not just the structure but also how it changes its environment and responds to its environment,’ Perilla said.
Perilla and his late co-author Klaus Shculten, a physics professor at the University of Illinois who died last year, used the Department of Energy’s Titan supercomputer to simulate more than 64 million atoms for an unprecedented look at the chemical-physical properties of an empty HIV-1 capsid.
As HIV progresses, it reduces the number of active T-cells in the body until the immune system cannot function correctly, a state known as 'acquired immune deficiency syndrome' or AIDS.
Current World Health Organisation guidelines, which the UK government follows, recommend only beginning HIV treatment when the number of T-cells in the bloodstream falls below a certain level.