Computer-generated vaccines

Pierre sonigo at
Fri Nov 19 17:06:04 EST 1999

I agree with Tyson. Computer are more and more helpful. but we are still not
able to calculate reliably the 3D structure of a single protein. Thus,
saying that one day we will be able to calculate a vaccine with a
supercomputer is science fiction. May be we will. May be not. Notice also
that it is a reductionist/determinist dream that might be totally irrelevant
to biology. For example, will the same supercomputer be able to calculate
the future evolution of man ?

Tyson <tyson at> wrote:
UIeZ3.72493$it.1740424 at
> ..well the theory is definitely plausible....this is already happening in
> way.  Combinatorial chemistry is a relatively new field which relies on
> analysis of numerous permutations and combinations of proteins and their
> response to a substrate
> ....this requires a lot of computer the moment this type of
> experiment or screening process also requires the experiment to be
> physically carried out rather than virtually...however it is certainly
> conceivable that this process could be carried out entirely in the virtual
> sense once we have a better understanding of how proteins etc. function in
> space.
> ....I think your oral surgeon is jumping the gun though....the number of
> parameters required for an analysis such as the one you suggested would be
> astronomical....and unless we engineer some sort of artificial
> in to the computer, these parameters would have to be entered by lowly
> humans....
> power won't be the answer to the problem of finding vaccines
> etc.. but it will certainly speed the process up....remember you first
> the understanding of how the viral proteins and/or genome function during
> infection...this requires basic, "traditional" research methods which
> take a lot of time; second you need an understanding of how the gene
> products function in 3 space....something which also requires time
> Bruce Compton <bcompton at> wrote in message
> news:3834BD00.3EED7723 at
> | Perhaps someone in the medical community  can enlighten me as to the
> | outlook for (futuristic?) procedures in the development of vaccines
> | through the use of computers.
> | My oral surgeon recently suggested that supercomputers in the next
> | century would be able to analyze viruses and routinely run through every
> |
> | chemical combination which could be usd to combat the virus until the
> | correct combination is found and a vaccine would be created. He
> | suggested that, although perhaps not in our lifetimes, but maybe our
> | childrens', any new virus which would appear would be routinely
> | eliminated by computer-generated vaccines. Part of the problem, he
> | suggested, is developing fast enough computers to run through all the
> | combinations. His description reminded me of Microsoft's anti-virus crew
> |
> | working day and night for a couple of days sometimes to produce a patch
> | when e.g. a significant new internet-related virus would be introduced.
> | What do you
> | think of his theory? Do you think that disease of any kind will be wiped
> |
> | out by computers by the end of the next century?
> |    Any comments or response related to this subject would be immensely
> | appreciated.
> | Bruce Compton
> | bcompton at
> |

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