A multiple-sponsor distributed computing project launched Jan. 22 aims to derail anthrax's ability to enter human cells and eliminate the toxin as a terrorists' weapon. The ambitious project has the backing of computer giants Intel and Microsoft, distributed computing specialist United Devices, the chemistry department at the University of Oxford, UK, and the National Foundation for Cancer Research (NFCR).

The anthrax project comes on the heels of a successful similar effort in cancer research that began last April and still continues.1 Headed by professor Graham Richards, chairman of chemistry at Oxford and director of the NFCR Centre for Computational Drug Design there, the cancer project—as of Jan. 23—had enlisted the aid of almost 1.3 million computers around the world and generated almost 81.1 years of computing time screening small molecules against possible anti-cancer drug targets. United Devices posts regular statistical updates on its Web site (www.ud.com)....

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