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.
To date, HIV/AIDS has killed more than 28 million people worldwide. While a new HIV vaccine shows promise, this is of little consolation to the 34 million people currently living with the virus. In an effort to treat ongoing infections, pharmaceutical companies typically focus on medicines that act on target proteins, but the HIV protein has long been considered one of the most difficult targets in all of structural biology, mostly on account of the wildly complex way its receptors are made from RNA.