A ray of hope

Published: Wednesday 15 May 1996

A TEAM of researchers from Mumbai's University Department of Chemical Technology (UDCT) have discovered a potential 'magic bullet' to be used in the war against AIDS. The group of students led by professor V M Kulkarm have developed a drab-looking and colourless substance which works wonders against an HIV enzyme.

They designed three lead compounds with the help of a computer and sent the samples f4 further tests to the prestigious National Cancer institute in the C s. Though all the three compounds showed promising results against an HIV enzyme, the organic compound code- named VMKH-1, was found to be most active as predicted by a computer model. The compound acts at very low concentrations, plus it is inexpensive and easy to prepare. The compound awaits more intensive tests to determine its efficacy and toxicity and for its approval as a drug. For the research, the team used the computer- aided - drug design method, which is applied to search for new chemical compounds and bio-active molecules using special software and sophisticated computer workstations.

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