BusinessWeek Profiles Microsoft Researchers Using Spam-Blocking Software To Develop HIV VaccinesBusinessWeek in its Oct. 1 edition profiled researchers at Microsoft who are refocusing spam-blocking technology to locate HIV-infected cells to help produce vaccines. Researchers have reconfigured the technology originally developed to identify junk e-mail to correlate HIV-infected cell mutations with an individual's genetic profile.
According to BusinessWeek, David Heckerman and colleagues in June released their first set of detecting software on the Internet at no cost. The researchers run data through 320 computers at a rate that is 480 times faster than one year ago due to smarter algorithms and more powerful machines. Heckerman said he hopes within three years the technology will lead to vaccines that can be tested on humans.
One of the challenges for the researchers is to single out the combinations of protein that lead to an HIV-infected cell so the protein bits can be packaged into a vaccine, BusinessWeek reports. In addition, Heckerman said HIV-infected mutations appear to vary according to an individual's immune system. If researchers can find patterns, it could bolster development of an effective vaccine (Baker/Greene, BusinessWeek, 10/1). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.