Research Insights - February 01, 2016
Fitness Landscape: A Computational Approach to Combatting Diseases
IAS Visiting Professor Arup CHAKRABORTY from Massachusetts Institute of Technology has recently pioneered an approach which performs statistical analysis of HIV sequence data in order to find key vulnerabilities in the virus. This involves applying sophisticated statistical methods to construct a so-called “fitness landscape”. This landscape maps each RNA sequence to a fitness value, which represents how deadly the particular HIV virus sequence variant is. This fitness landscape can then be used for the rational design of a vaccine. The key idea is to design a vaccine which will induce an immune response to force the virus to mutate into areas of low fitness.