Internet computing finds HIV inhibitors

Friday 16 April 2004
Find-a-Drug, Evesham, UK

Find-a-Drug is pleased to announce that its HIV Internet project has found molecules which inhibit the development of HIV. By using the spare computer time of thousands of PCs connected to the Internet to form a large supercomputer, Find-a-Drug has the ability to evaluate the drug potential of more than 0.5 billion molecules and produce a set of molecules that are predicted to inhibit the development of HIV. Scientists at the US National Institute of Health have tested a small number of molecules from this set.

"We have found 18 inhibitors for HIV protease" commented Keith Davies, Scientific Director of Find-a-Drug. "Most of the existing HIV drugs also target this protein. However, drug resistance can arise from protein mutations which is stimulating the search for new inhibitors and other protein targets".

In the coming months, Find-a-Drug hopes to increase the number of molecules evaluated by computer and have more molecules tested in the laboratory. Alternative protein targets will also be evaluated to increase the number of molecules which are predicted to have inhibition properties. It is hoped that choosing from a larger number of molecules will help to avoid drug failures during clinical trials.

The project has so far used around 2,000 years of computer time, and has involved 20,000 PCs from over 60 countries. Each PC is running a copy of the THINK software in the background which does not affect normal use of the PC. All data transferred between the PCs and the Find-a-Drug Internet servers are encrypted. This is a necessary and valuable precaution to prevent the introduction of a harmful agent such as a virus on to the computers. PC owners may participate in the project by downloading the THINK software and molecules from www.find-a-drug.org. Once installed, the software does not require any interaction by the owner.

To participate visit www.find-a-drug.org.

For further information please contact:

Tel: Keith Davies +44 1386 870153 or 07879 495105
E-mail: Keith.Davies@find-a-drug.org

About Find-a-Drug

The HIV project was launched in July 2003 in collaboration with Dr Ian Gilbert of the Welsh School of Pharmacy at Cardiff University. Find-a-Drug was set up in 2002 by Treweren Consultants (Evesham, UK) as a non-profit project using Internet-based computing for drug discovery. In addition to HIV, Find-a-Drug is examining some Cancer, Multiple Sclerosis, Plague and SARS protein targets. The cancer project continues the work started in collaboration with United Devices (Austin, Texas) and Professors Graham Richards and David Kerr of Oxford University in 2001.