A new tool that can help predict the location of virus mutations that lead to HIV-drug resistance has been developed by scientists.
Protease inhibitor drugs are one of the major weapons in the fight against HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, but their effectiveness is limited as the virus mutates and develops resistance to the drugs over time.
The main reason for the short-term effectiveness of the drug has to do with the evolution of the drug within the body, said the study's author, Yi Mao, a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis.
In the study, Mao used a mathematical modelling technique called elastic network modelling to examine the physical properties and interactions of the proteins.
The model reveals where mutations are occurring during the evolution of the HIV-virus proteins and how these mutations help the virus survive.
"With this kind of knowledge, better strategies for designing anti-HIV drugs could be developed," stated Mao.
The study was published in the journal BMC Structural Biology.