Scientists at the University of Missouri are celebrating a discovery made during their study of HIV. A group of scientists there have determined the structure of a key protein in HIV, which could lead to new and more effective medications. Dr. Stefan Sarafianos with the Mizzou School of Medicine says making the finding was exhilarating.

Dr. Stefan Sarafianos

Dr. Stefan Sarafianos

“Over the course of twenty years, people have tried to get this structure, so to speak. They have done fantastic work, which was very helpful to us.”

Due to the discovery, Mizzou has received a $2.28 million grant to continue drug development. Dr. Sarafianos says other drugs are needed to fight drug resistance.

“If you hit the virus at the same side with different drugs, when the virus learns how to become resistant to one of them, the virus most likely will become resistant to most of them. That’s why you need different families of drugs.”

Dr. Sarafianos says drugs used today have had a dramatic reduction in AIDS related deaths.

There are about 35 million people with HIV worldwide and approximately one million of them live in the United States.