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E. How Certain Viruses Benefit from Genomics

Narrator: This is Science Today. From a molecular perspective, the majority of what we know about certain viruses, such as HIV and Hepatitis C, comes from a genetic understanding. Ed Penhoet, a professor in the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley, says that understanding how proteins function in a virus is critical for developing cures.

Penhoet: So the entirety about what we know about HIV today almost has been driven by genomics. The virus was cloned. People knew nothing about the proteins it encoded. They figured out those proteins. They developed drugs based on the structure and their activity. Those drugs have entered into human health and made a big contribution to people with HIV.

Narrator: Penhoet says the same is true for Hepatitis C.

Penhoet: Hepatitis C today-still no one can grow Hepatitis C-the entirety of what we know and the products that we've developed in that case have come from a pure genomics approach. The virus was cloned first before anything else was known about it.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.