February 21, 2010

February 21, 2010
AIDS Research at Home

Welcome to another day of my life as a long term survivor of HIV and AIDS. Today is Sunday and I hope you are having a safe and great weekend.

It has been a beautiful and warmer weekend here in south Florida. Unfortunately, I have spent most of it inside because I am currently on a ton of antibiotics because of an infection. I am hoping the antibiotics are doing their thing and the infection will be cleared up sooner than later.

Anyone who has followed my blog or my work know that I do a lot of work online besides what I do in Washington DC and around the country. Computers and the internet have made it so much easier to reach masses of people with much less cost and greater return.

Well now if you chance to do the same without leaving the comfort of your own home or incurring any cost.

Here is an easy (and free) way to help researchers develop HIV drugs: Simply donate your personal computerís unused processing power in other words, let it crunch some data for scientists when youíre not using it. Researchers from FightAIDS@Home explain how logging on to this program may lead to newer drugs, faster.

Dab the AIDS Bear Project has a secret: Our offices double as HIV drug development laboratories. Our scientific work evaluating mutations and prospective candidates for HIV drug discovery continues around the clock, without a single lab tech or test tube in sight. Best of all, you too can contribute reams of data to the relentless pursuit of better antiretrovirals and, quite possibly, a cure.

It is not as clandestine as it sounds. All that is required from us is that we donate our unused personal computer processing time to FightAIDS@Home, a program of IBMís World Community Grid and the Olson Lab at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California. It is nothing more than a glorified screensaver that doubles as a software program capable of downloading and analyzing small chunks of data from the World Community Grid. After the software performs the necessary calculations all taking place while youíre computer is idle the results are passed along to Scripps, where researchers are standing by to sift the processed data for mutations associated with HIV drug resistance and for evidence of small molecules that can bind to, and effectively block, HIV.

FightAIDS@Home began in 2000 and now boasts a network of labs tucked away inside more than a million personal computers around the word. Even more exciting is the fact that grid computing the joining together of many individual computers to create a large system with computational power that surpasses that of a handful of supercomputers is yielding results.

According to a paper published in the March issue of Chemical Biology & Drug Design, researchers at Scripps identified two compounds that bind to unique sites of HIVís protease enzyme and may prove useful in preventing and treating drug resistant virus. They embarked on this work thanks to theories about drug resistance and molecule design that were shaped by processed data from the FightAIDS@Home network.

To learn more about FightAIDS@Home and to download the software needed to contribute to the work of the Olson Lab at Scripps, copy and paste http://fightaidsathome.scripps.edu/ into your browser which will take you to their website. And tell them Daddy Dab and Dab the AIDS Bear sent you.

Thanks for helping people with HIV and AIDS. Until we meet again; here's wishing you health, hope and happiness.

big bear hug,

Daddy Dab