Thursday, August 6, 2009"Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have decoded the entire HIV genome, opening the door to understanding how viruses infect humans – knowledge that could lead to new antiviral drugs," the Triangle Business Journal reports. The building block of HIV is a single stranded RNA, not a double stranded DNA (Gallagher, 8/6). In the Nature study, published Thursday, the team of researchers describe how their newly developed "chemical method called SHAPE ... make[s] an image not only of the RNA's nucleotides, but of the shapes and folds of the RNA strands," Reuters writes (Fox, 8/5). The approach allowed researchers to capture a more complete picture of the HIV RNA genome than previously identified, revealing "that the RNA structures influence multiple steps in HIV's infection cycle," HealthDay News/U.S. News & World Report writes (8/5). According to the team of researchers, the technique could lead to new treatments for HIV as well as "for other viruses such as influenza and the bugs that cause the common cold," Reuters writes (8/5).
I would love to think that this will aid researchers in finding a vaccine or a cure. Only time will tell.