Ivan Konstantinov and his team created this detailed model of HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) back in 2010 by spending 3 months summarizing 100 different publications in fields of virology, X-ray analysis and NMR spectroscopy. “The depicted spatial configurations of 17 different viral and cellular proteins found in the HIV particle are in strict accordance with known 3D structures. The viral membrane in the model includes 160,000 lipid molecules of 8 different types in the proportion found in the HIV particle.”
HIV is certainly one of the scariest disease around, but this model makes it look like a fluffy, harmless ball.
There has certainly been a lot of noise about HIV “cures” in the past few years, and I think Alex Dent put it well when he wrote “Yes, amazing things are happening in science, but the results of studies tend to be amplified as they echo through media outlets.” As a journalist, I try my best not to exaggerate scientific findings. Publications write dramatic headlines to draw readers in, but unfortunately, the public doesn’t always get the most grounded information as a result.
Hopefully models like this one will help lead to a real HIV cure sometime in the near future.