Mapping tech uses flu to show why HIV vaccine is taking so long

Microsoft research explores mutations of the HIV virus in an attempt to help create a vaccine.
Written by Denise Amrich, Contributor

I finally got around to getting this year's flu shot Friday afternoon. I say finally, because the shot has actually already been available in my local area for a week or two!

It seemed a bit early for the flu vaccine. I confirmed this by going back and looking at the article I wrote for ZDNet Health last year, which talked about a texting program to incentivize influenza vaccination, and included a vaccine resource guide. Check out the CDC's 2012-2013 influenza vaccine FAQ for the latest information.

Since the vaccine is out a bit earlier this year, it's great that we can step right up and arm ourselves against influenza by getting immunized at the start of the season. This stands in stark contrast with the sad fact that we still don't have the HIV vaccine we were promised over a decade ago, despite all the hard work and funding that have gone into the struggle.

In order to understand why it's been so difficult to create an immunization for HIV, watch the video below to see some fascinating graphic mapping of HIV mutations in comparison with the flu virus. You'll get an idea of the scope of the problem, see how tools from the Microsoft Biology Initiative are being used to find solutions, and get a healthy dose of hope.

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