Who knew that having to deal with the scourge of spam could have positive benefits for the rest of humanity. Microsoft is turning learned spam-quashing techniques to the fight against HIV, and has partnered with the Ragon Institute to help them with their HIV-vaccine efforts.

The Ragon Institute is a collaboration between MIT, Harvard, the Massachusetts General Hospital and researchers in South Africa with a singular purpose: defeat HIV with a vaccine. Microsoft's lending a hand with a data crunching program called PhyloD, which takes raw data from the research centre and parses it for clues as to how our immune system attacks the various fragments of HIV.

Using processing techniques Microsoft developed to monitor and adapt to spam, plus its enormous computing capacity, means that researchers get their data thoroughly analysed and back to them fast. Glad to see that the fight against spam isn't totally in vain. Let's hope it gives the virologists the edge they need to come up with an effective vaccine and rid the world of AIDS. [Microsoft via The Verge]