An Australian researcher working with Microsoft through its Microsoft Research arm (MSR), has pioneered promising new ways to combat the deadly HIV virus with software typically used to analyse large computer databases and complex digital images, or to separate spam from legitimate email.
At the 12th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI), Microsoft Research will show how medical researchers can use machine-learning, data-mining and other software techniques to comb through millions of strains of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) to find the genetic patterns necessary to train a patient’s immune system to fight the virus. The first of these vaccine designs are currently undergoing laboratory testing.
Microsoft researchers David Heckerman and Nebojsa Jojic are the first to use algorithms similar to those in Microsoft’s database and anti-spam software to uncover hidden patterns within the genetic mutations of the virus and the immune system of the patient.
The researchers, in collaboration with doctors and scientists from the University of Washington in Seattle and Australia’s Royal Perth Hospital, plan to exploit these patterns to create improved vaccine designs that pack more HIV-fighting genetic markers into vaccines.
“Microsoft has helped us make a tremendous leap forward in our efforts to halt a virus that has already killed nearly 30 million people worldwide,” said Simon Mallal, professor and executive director of the Centre for Clinical Immunology and Biomedical Statistics at Royal Perth Hospital and Murdoch University.
Very interesting. Also what’s hard to believe is that Microsoft actually has anti-spam technology.